Category Archives: Improvement

a dream

I’m in frequent contact with the public at work. The other day, I saw this kid.

He was awkward, goofy, maybe 15 or so. He was also pretty obviously interested in this girl there (same approximate age), who then proceeded to talk shit about him after he left, calling him a loser.

Right then I had a dream, and it does involve this site, sort of. It might be an entirely new site. I’d like to mentor these goofball weirdo kids and teach them how to not be a “loser,” and how to have a chance with some of these girls. As a side effect (arguably the main goal), they’d vastly improve themselves along the way.

I don’t know if I’ll have time to get to work on this. Spinning a lot of plates. Just an idea that I had to get down somewhere (somewhat) public.

social anxiety

so many to choose from, this'll do
so many to choose from, this’ll do

According to the DSM-IV, Social Anxiety Disorder is characterized by the following criteria (source: behavenet.com):

  • A marked and persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others. The individual fears that he or she will act in a way (or show anxiety symptoms) that will be humiliating and embarrassing.
  • Exposure to the feared social situation almost invariably provokes anxiety, which may take the form of a situationally bound or situationally predisposed Panic Attack.
  • The person recognizes that the fear is excessive or unreasonable.
  • The feared social or performance situations are avoided or else are endured with intense anxiety or distress.
  • The avoidance, anxious anticipation, or distress in the feared social or performance situations interferes significantly with the person’s normal routine, occupational functioning, or social activities or relationships, or there is marked distress about having the phobia.
  • In individuals under 18 years, the duration is at least six months.
  • The fear or avoidance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance or general medical condition and is not better accounted for by another mental disorder.

There is also the specific Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder, in which fears include most social situations. In this case an additional diagnosis of Avoidant Personality Disorder.

This is a topic I could pretty much devote an entire site to, and I’ve considered it. I’m kind of an expert. Let me give you my credentials. Continue reading

pawnography

dat shit racist
dat shit racist

My morning ritual is usually to sit down with my coffee and play Freecell until my brain wakes up. I want to fix that. I’m so bored of fucking Freecell.

On the heels of this Mentat thing I’ve been kicking around, I decided to take up chess again. I haven’t played seriously in many years, and I’m really rusty.

When I was a kid, I played chess as part of the “enrichment program” as a six year old. Maybe one day I’ll do a whole post on separating the “bright” kids from the rest of the class, but it’s beyond the scope of this one. In any case, that’s where I was introduced to the game of chess.

I approached it like I approach everything. I didn’t study the game in depth, I just learned a bunch of flashy trick openings and was able to roll everyone I played, because no one was really that good. I ended up losing interest in the game because of this, I think.

Much later in life, when I was out on my own and sitting bored in my apartment, I went through a period where I played chess all the time at home, against the computer. I played a little online and usually got rolled.

But I remember feeling like my brain was pumping on all cylinders back then. My brain was trained to think steps ahead, and it helped in everything I did.

That’s why I’m taking chess up again. I’ve got a decent app for my phone, and I’m on the lookout for one for my Windows PC (let me know if you have one). I might just pirate an old copy of Chessmaster or something, that’s what I used to play with.

becoming a mentat

thinkerAs I mentioned in a previous post, I’m currently midway through my second reading of the Dune series, and I’m afraid I’ve gone too deep.

I’ve had an idea for the site. I’d like to delve into my brain in my free time, tidy the place up, oil the moving parts. In the process, I’m going to share what I’ve learned.

You can call it mind hacks, or whatever you want to. I’m choosing to call it the “Mentat Project.”

I want to teach myself how to learn, how to think critically, among other as yet undefined goals. The first step is deep thought about what it means in the first place.

This will all take place in my meager spare time, so progress will be slow.

Why?

I don’t like the way my brain has felt lately. Poor diet, perhaps. Lack of downtime, maybe. I sleep six to seven hours a night, as has been my habit since I can remember, but I never feel rested. Stress. Physical fatigue.

In any case, I think I can change it.