Ownership and control

I read a great post today that explains why we should take the ownership and control of our content we put on the internet.

Discovered in this tweet, Redesigning Waxy, 2016 edition is a great read.

If you don’t have time to read the full post, just read these two paragraphs:

Last week, Twitter announced they’re shutting down Vine. Twitter, itself, may be acquired and changed in some terrible way. It’s not hard to imagine a post-Verizon Yahoo selling off Tumblr. Medium keeps pivoting, trying to find a successful revenue model. There’s no guarantee any of these platforms will be around in their current state in a year, let alone ten years from now.

Here, I control my words. Nobody can shut this site down, run annoying ads on it, or sell it to a phone company. Nobody can tell me what I can or can’t say, and I have complete control over the way it’s displayed. Nobody except me can change the URL structure, breaking 14 years of links to content on the web.

It is still hard for me to publish to my blog first and everywhere else next. I shared the original post first in a tweet, and now writing this post. I’m trying hard to get over this habit.

I archive my photos to OneDrive, Flickr and Google Photos. All these services upload my camera roll without me having to do anything. It is convenient. But there is a risk that any of these services can shut the door on my previous memories with little or no notice. I really have no solution to this. I will keep thinking.

Learning to write well

Since I started reading English language style guides few years ago, I became critical of the text I see everywhere. 

There’s heaps of imperfect writing everywhere; billboards, public toilets, public transport, and oh yeah, this blog. These are all great learning opportunities to practice the rules I read in the books. 

I’m in the airport shuttle bus now. Luckily the bus is full and I have no seat to sit. I’m standing few seats behind the driver. This notice caught my attention. 

I told myself that if I get a chance to rewrite this notice, I’d rephrase it like this:

For others comfort, please don’t smoke, eat, or drink in this bus. Thank you. 

Fewer and direct words. 

My writing is far from perfect. I write a lot of loose text. But I believe that if I never stop learning from these everyday opportunities, be open to feedback, and don’t become a snob, I can only get better eventually.

Waiting for the next iPhone

I’m excited about the upcoming iPhone. That’s because I am going to buy it. 

It’s been six years since I looked forward this much for an iPhone. Luckily, I didn’t have to buy a phone all these years. I bought my first iPhone in the October of 2010. Saying I was excited to lay my hands on it is needless. It’s the fourth version of the iconic phone sporting few firsts like retina display and 1 GHz processor. I started typing this post in the same phone, and published it later from the iPad. 

I used the iPhone 4 until the April of 2013. Then I gave it to my wife who used it until she got a brand new iPhone SE this April for her birthday. Meanwhile, for the three years, I used the iPhone 5 I was given by my previous employer to fulfil my job responsibilities. I was pretty happy with iPhone 5. It’s sleek, light, fast and has a decent camera. This is why I never bothered to check the later versions of the phone. I returned the iPhone 5 when I quit my job at the end of May.

June is a bad time to buy an iPhone. The new iPhone is only four months away from June. I felt it’s worth waiting until September before blowing up at least a grand on a new phone. So I popped the SIM card into my unused iPhone 4.

In 2016, the iPhone 4 felt terrible. It’s sluggish despite keeping very few apps. It’s stuck with iOS 7.1.2. Most apps require iOS 8 and either wouldn’t install or install the previous versions. Camera is slow and blurry that I lost interest in clicking photos. I was frustrated at one point that I went to a store to buy an iPhone SE. But that store ran out of the stock. It turned out to be a good thing.

On the bright side, using a six year old phone improved my patience levels. Few crucial apps I need like WordPress, Wunderlist, Simplenote, iMessage, Whatsapp and Elevate worked fine. It’s hotspot feature came in handy during my recent India trip when I needed a temporary internet connection. Anyday, I’d rather use a dated iPhone than an Android. So thank you, iPhone4. You have been amazing overall. 

It’s only few weeks before the new iPhone 7 and its variants see the light of the day. I can’t wait to buy it. I am not a fan of gigantic screens on a phone. So I will stick to a smaller screen. I imagine it will be lighter, faster and better than earlier iPhones.

I like to keep things for long. However, I hear talks about Apple saving the best for 2017, for the tenth anniversary version of the iPhone. If these talks turns out to be true, I will trade in iPhone 7 for its next version. Otherwise, I will be happy to live with the iPhone 7 for the next seven years.

Master yourself. Help others.

I recently wrote about how  what I do aligns to “Master yourself, help others” philosophy I learned from Derek Sivers.  I loved this philosophy so much that I want to make it my life motto and make sure everything I do fits into either of these buckets.

This motto adds on to the four principles I practice. Here is the complete list:

  1. Master yourself. Help others.
  2. Hell yeah or no.
  3. Believe in Evolution. Not in Revolution.
  4. Rely on Habits and Processes. Not on Willpower.
  5. Base goals on Identity. Not on Performance or Appearance.

For the fun of setting resolutions for 2016, I decided to highlight two things from my /now page.

Master yourself

I am going to work for perfect abs. This not so because I want to show off but for the fun of attempting what I think is difficult to do. Perfect abs means eating really well, great rest of the body and overall fitness.

I reiterate, I exercise to master my body and be healthy so I can give a best shot to my aspirations. External results like lean body, muscle and low body fat are nice side effects I can’t help but enjoy.

Help others

I am going to work hard to be successful in my side project code-named, Chaitanya 3.0.

I am super excited to imagine what is possible in 2016.

Here’s to 2016 and I wish you all the very best for your aspirations.

2015 in the hindsight

2015 is my best year ever in almost all areas of my life.

I learned a few good ideas, built a great momentum for my goals, and continued my habit streaks.

In October I put everything I have been up to in my /now page. This is the one of the best things I did this year. Writing this page has helped me think about what is important to me so I can say no to everything else. I have based my 2015 review on my /now page because it is essentially what I have been up to this year.

Three ideas I learned from Derek Sivers

I learned three great ideas from Derek Sivers over the last couple of months. I am very grateful to Derek for the following ideas.

  1. Hell yeah or no.
  2. /now page.
  3. Mastering self and helping others.

Hell yeah or no

I came across Derek’s “Hell yeah or no” idea via Leo Babauta’s tweet.

I instantly liked it and started saying no to anything that is less than hell yeah. It has helped me focus on my priorities and say no to everything else.

/now page

Being part of Derek’s /now page movement and writing my /now page has helped me think what is important to me and write how I am spending my time. I read my /now page regularly to make sure I am spending my time on my priorities.

Mastering self and helping others

Derek recently shared this idea in this second episode of The Tim Ferriss Show. I strongly recommend you listen to it. I enjoyed the two-hour long first episode as well but if you have only little time, just listen to the second.

He shared this idea at 28:03 of the second follow-up episode when someone asked him how does he define success.

I am amazed by how most of the things I do – which you will find on my /now page – perfectly aligns to this philosophy.

Exercising, doing push ups, running are to master my body and be in shape. Meditating, playing Elevate, and eating healthy helps me master my mind.

I am here first to help and take care of my family. Thankfully they don’t take much of my time or help but I don’t think twice to drop everything else if they ever need me that much. Then, my day job and Chaitanya 3.0 project are too about helping people, learning new things, and solving others problems.

Thanks a lot Derek. Your ideas are  some of the best I learned in 2015. I am super excited to continue living them in 2016 and be more useful to others.

Understanding GTD

If you are keen to get better at achieving your goals in the new year, I suggest you check the free Get Stuff Done online course on YouTube.

This course teaches how to apply the famous GTD philosophy to our life. It was originally offered for a small fee but the nice fella, Tiago Forte of Skillshare has made it available for free on YouTube.  It is a series of short videos, all of them under fifteen minutes and only few of them are over ten minutes.

I did this course last year and learned a lot about how to organize myself. It has helped me build a Wunderlist based to-do list system that tells me the things I need to do everyday to make progress on my goals. I am doing this course again to strengthen my learning. It only takes at most fifteen minutes a day. Check it out.