Project #2: Read the Hebrew Bible, Get Wiser

I’m not a religious person. I don’t believe in gods, deities or demons, and don’t follow any religion. I find it hard to believe that everything in the bible is a fact or history. I don’t love the bible, and I don’t hate it, but I really want to know it.

So now it’s time to read the bible, starting with the good ol’ testament.

The Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) has 929 chapters, which means that if I read 3 chapters a day, I will finish the book in approximately 310 days.

I will:

  • Read the books, and write a simple summary for each chapter.
  • Write notes of things I love, hate, feel weird about, etc.
  • Not read interpretations at this point.

The bible is an all time best seller, but how many people who have it actually read it? Buying and having a book is one thing, but reading it from start to finish is a different story. A best seller status is useless if all you do is sit and accumulate dust. We had so many bibles around the house, but they were for decoration only.

One thing special about the bible is how emotionally fragile people are when it comes to it. They protect it as if it’s god himself in his earthly form. People would say it’s beautiful, wise, holy. The most beautiful book ever written. How many of said people have actually read it thoroughly?

Well, it’s time to get rid of any prejudice, and actually read it and analyze it like any other book. Once I’m done, I’m sure I’ll be one of a very few who finished it, and I’ll form my opinion as I go.

If there’s wisdom there like people say there is, then in less than a year I’ll wiser.

Good luck.

 

 

 

Mnemonics, and how I used them in school and excelled

Harry Lorayne is a magician and a memory training specialist. He’s well known for his books on mnemonics, one of which I read years ago.

Mnemonics are techniques of remembering information, even when it comes in big chunks. In short, in this technique you make up a silly story in your head, like REALLY silly, that is so ridiculous you can’t help but remembering it. You imagine the story in your head, and after one time or two of visualizing it, you remember it.

I used the technique for school, back when I took biology in my first attempt at college. I passed the class with success using that technique (you can search online for it).

Let’s say there are two ways of retaining information, the traditional way and mnemonics. I used the latter.

  • I read two pages a day (each subunit was about that long).
  • Wrote down a list of important keywords.
  • Used the keywords to write a summary of the subject of the subunit. If I missed information, I added keywords.
  • When the keywords were enough for me to write a decent summary full with all the important information, I used mnemonics to retain the lists of said keywords.

That’s what I did. Each day I added a new list of keywords, and of course, “sharpened” the list of the days before. I had probably thousands of keywords inside my head, many lists of them, ready to convert into biological facts.

One might think it’s stupid. You can’t study like that. You remember the silly stories you make up as part of the technique, but you don’t remember actual information. The truth, to me, was that every time I “converted” the lists into information, it was the facts that became more ingrained in my head. At the end, when I used the mnemonics, I didn’t recite the “silly story”, but facts and processes of, let’s say, photosynthesis, Krebs cycle, mitosis, and so on.

Because I used the keywords in the order in which they appeared in the book, writing down the information made it look like I copied and rephrased it directly from the book, and not from my head.

Others might say that we don’t go to college to remember, we go to learn. Well, the end result for me was that: I understood (and still do) how things work, I understood the logic, I remembered a lot of stuff (still do), and I excelled.

I didn’t spend hours a day studying like I was back in high school. I had big chunks of information in me, so clear and thorough.

Plan for June

So, June is on its way, and I’m going to have a lot of free time, since I will work from home. I go back to project #1, the book reading project, and here’s the list of books for June:

Non-fiction

  • Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
  • Fail-safe investing by Harry Browne
  • Stock Investing for Dummies by Paul Mladjenovic

Fiction

  • The Sign of The Four by Arthur Conan Doyle

Mostly non-fiction about investing and economics. That’s a subject I know very little about, and I would like to broaden my knowledge. These three are quite short, but once I’m done with them, I’ll move the the bigger, fatter ones.

Four skinny books.

Good luck.

 

Horrible April

April was a horrible month for my projects.

After the success of March, April was nothing but a failed attempt. Why? How? What happened? I returned to my lazy ways, did mostly nothing, and only sporadically studied for my course.

In college, so far, I’m doing well, but my goal is not to do well, my goal is to excel. I have one last required assignment out of three, and I hope to complete theme all. I quit my job, because I found a better one from home, so it’ll make life so much easier for me.

Let’s start with excuses:

  • I had no plan. March had a plan, a simple, 5 minutes plan that worked, April was an orphan.
  • I started working from home.
  • My alcoholic widower father is an emotional burden.

And now, back to me. I’m once again beaten by my own incompetence. Life with no self-discipline is futile, stagnant, and I am the only victim of my own lack of discipline.

My first instinct is to wait for my final day at work, but that’s just good old procrastination.

I need to come up with a plan for this month.

Reading Project Update

My first project, the reading project, is going very well.

I’ve already finished three of the intended books, and have two more left (10 days to the end of the month). The good books make me go beyond my intended hour and a half a day, and I finish the books earlier than planned, which is good. In fact, at the moment, I’m reading three books, one fiction, two non-fiction, so I might conclude the grace period with six completed books.

An hour and a half is not that much to invest a day, but sometimes it was hard for me to sit down and turn on my kindle. It made me postpone the reading, and there were maybe two days when I just gave up because I was too tired. It’s risky in a way that it shows a lack of discipline. It’s a slippery slope. You begin with a day or two, and end up giving up altogether. I don’t want it.

I think I should try a system of fixed hours. I’ll do it from next month on.

Reading fiction is one thing. Reading non-fiction is sometimes harder. You read non-fiction, most of the time, when you want to learn something. I talk about text books and guides, which I love to the point of obsession. I’ve always wanted to understand mathematics better, so now I have books about what I find very intruiging: proofs and logic. You can’t get more non-fiction than that. I think that’d be my Project #2.

And good luck to me. I’m a student now.

 

 

 

 

Going Back to College at 30

I’m 30, and I’m going back to college. I am not ashamed, and I don’t see anything wrong with it. I’m the last guy to ever be embarrassed by going back to school.

My ability to study and process new information is still solid, and I’m even better at studying than high school me.

I have no other commitments, except, of course, my little projects, past and future, so I thought to myself that I better do it, and do it now. I have the money, I have the brain, but do I have the discipline?

I could nail college, if and only if I stick to a certain plan, a plan that has already proved itself to me as useful and smart. I’m talking about a system of studying, on which I’ll write more when the time comes.

Why college? Why not just read a book? Well, for practicality. You need self-discipline, you have exams and assignments to test your knowledge and your commitment to a schedule, and you get grades and a diploma which will buy you the trust of others.

I’ll do it slowly, and base myself first. Again, the goal is to not tire myself. Next semester (March) I’m taking Physics I. The semester after – Calculus. I know it should be the other way around, sue me.

I think college will challenge me. I have a month to get ready for a subject that is new to me, a month.

I’ll create a schedule for the month before the opening of next semester to the end of next semester. I’ll have it ready by next weekend. The goal is to stick to it religiously, and hopefully it’ll give me success.

The books are waiting on my desk, so I better go and see what I got myself into.

How’s “Project #1” so far?

It’s been two days and it’s going well. I’m actually about to finish a book, but it’s only because it’s the weekend. We better the progress during next week.

Project #1: Read 50 Books Before 2018

I love reading, but I don’t get to do it much. It’s not because I lack the time, but because I don’t do the first and importent step of taking a book and reading a page, because I lack self-discipline, a merit I’ll have.

I want to be well-read, and for that I need to, well, read. I have a kindle, and a few books waiting for me to read them. My first mission will be to create a system. With reading it’s not much of a deal. It’s a simple and easy task.

First, I turn a project into a sub-project. There are five books waiting to be read by me, and I will finish the last of them by the end of march.

My capacity: I read 0.6 page a minute. That’s 36 pages in an hour. If an average book has 320 pages, it’s 8.88 hours per book 320 pages long.  Five books is 44.4 hours.  I have 43 days to read five books, so how much should I invest?

The goal is to read without tiring myself. Investing an hour and a half a day (about 54 pages)  for reading is a good start, and that’s what I’ll do as from today.

The books I choose are well known classics:

  1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  2. A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
  3. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  4. The Prince by Machiavelli
  5. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

I’ll divide the reading process. I’ll read an half and hour, break, another half an hour, break, and so on. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a book, because I do, and I’ll probably ignore the breaks once things get interesting. It’s important I don’t tire myself, and I want to make sure I follow my own rules.

That’s it for today. I wish me luck.

 

 

 

Beating Procrastination

Hello readers,

I assume that in a week or more I’ll have a few.

This blog is about me and my daily and life-long struggle with procrastination. I have many, many projects to complete and many things I’d like to accomplish, and I have the time and the drive, but alas, I can’t seem to make any progress.

How come I can’t get over procrastination and live a productive life? What the fuck is wrong with me? What good is my drive, if my life is unproductive and unfulfilled and it doesn’t take me anywhere?

I want to develop self-discipline and self-trust, and turn my life around. My goal is to become a broadminded, well-read, edcuated person. It’s not that I’m an ignorant villager, it’s just that I could accomplish so much more, and doind the stuff you want to do is mostly fun.

I don’t know it because I was told to. I do it because I love expending my knowledge and learning new stuff.

Once I have all my attempts open for everyone to see, I’m sure I’ll have more motivation to actually do something with my inert life. I’d feel much obliged when I know I’m being scrutinized.

I want to share my experience, and if there’s any success, to have others learn from it.