First things first: My online friend and MoSho guest Markus Freise is crowdfunding his new book. The main product is already funded, but now even an important stretch goal is within reach.
All he needs is a handful of new backers, and it would be marvelous to get some support from abroad. Maybe you can help? (More information on this at the end of this post.)
A recent trip led me to a castle in the Middle Rhine region to attend a course held by some of my old professors (and bosses). We got together for four days and three nights of ancient texts, philosophical debate, and decent red wine.
Coming from a qualitative approach to science, we discussed how we’re living in a world that falls for the delusion that everything is quantifiable when in reality some of the most central human experiences – creativity, our subsconsciousness, the numinous – are not.
On my way back to the island, I was more than intrigued by a post by Michael Allen Smith on his experiments with the quantifiable self and self-tracking – and leaving it behind:
The obvious explanation is that although my time commitment to quantifiable self was small, the stress of daily tracking and trying to affect an outcome was likely a cause of the headaches. Early on in the project when it was clear that I wasn’t able to solve the riddle of night headaches, I regretted posting on the experiment. I became the experiment and for over two years I was failing at it and doing so publicly.
The past two months I’ve had a noticeable decline in both headache quantity and intensity. Even lower than the two months where my caffeine levels were extremely low. And I had a higher than normal level of coffee during this time. My sleep quality was also excellent. Stepping away from the daily tracking was a wise move.
It’s just anecdotical data, you may rightly say, but the qualitative gains for Michael seem to be quite tangible.
From Michael’s article, a link to The Unquantified Self:
The bigger question, that I have asked myself – and that anyone who self-tracks should ask themselves – where does this need to track come from? Yes, there are of course objective reasons, healthy lifestyle, concrete goals, small steps. But frankly, that’s mostly hogwash in my instance. My lifestyle would be plenty healthy without tracking.
Here are some candidate reasons:
I’ve tried to remember the times in my life when I was most obsessed by the need to track, and there’s definitely a pattern to this. Early puberty. Just after I ran away. After I quit my regular job and went freelance. Well, basically any time my life took a risky, uncertain turn, where matters outside my control could have created havoc in my life. And in retrospect it’s easy to figure out: I track to give myself a sense of control, impose some kind of imaginary order on my life. Tracking gives me the sense that I’m piloting a plane and all the instruments and indicators are telling me it’s a smooth flight. That no matter what life throws at me, I can handle it, as long as the metrics stay within range. It’s a method of self-soothing, it’s a safety blanket.
The quote is taken from the post The Urge to Track and Its Dark Roots. I believe the writer is spot on with her analysis about the reasons to track. I don’t even know if these reasons are “bad”, but if you’ve ever felt like a compulsive tracker yourself, you might want to think about it.
The last time I’ve checked my blog statistics must have been almost a year ago. I cannot say I feel like I missed anything.
Here’s a wonderful interview with Merlin Mann. I couldn’t decide on a single quote, so here are a few of them:
I’m really grateful for the school I ended up going to: it was unusual and exceedingly kind in accepting me, given my grades and background. It was an amazing experience, but I skipped through majors like a crazy person. In retrospect, it’s kind of chilling to think about what would have happened if I had committed to any of those. I feel fortunate that, (A) I didn’t die, and (B) I didn’t get painted into a corner where I had to become a doctor or a lawyer. I never would have had the chance to stumble into something interesting. There are a lot of people who know what they want to do at a young age, but they end up kind of hating it and becoming stuck because they’re successful at it.
My highlights. Brilliant.
When we mythologize ourselves, we tend to amplify the things that turned out okay and try to turn the failures or lack of success into something we learned from. You can do anything to make your life look really grand. It’s a shame that so many people find it difficult to do the things they’d like to do because they feel cowed by seemingly successful people who appear to never do anything wrong, or always learn from their mistakes. That just rings as a lot of B.S. and self-mythology to me.
I like to try and isolate what I’m most interested in getting better at. It can be very frustrating to keep sucking at something without realizing that it’s not the thing you should be trying to get better at. It’s like when our parents used to tell us as kids, “There is something that you don’t even realize you’re good at,” or, “People like you because of this, but you’re mad because it’s not this other thing.” Part of successfully growing up is letting go of unrealistic ideas that stop us from recognizing something else we’re good at and might enjoy more than what we’re doing now. There could be something 10 times greater than what you’re doing, but you don’t realize it because you’re fixated on the thing you feel like you should be doing.
When I talk to my friends or clients about this, there’s always this feeling of wishing or hoping that you’ll eventually arrive somewhere. But, I don’t know anybody who’s ever arrived anywhere. Everybody I know with half a brain is always a little bit nervous about how long they’re going to be okay doing what they’re doing.
Go read the whole thing already.
Markus is someone I admire for finding success in his business niche while maintaining his creative freedom. Now he’s trying to combine the two in yet another way: By crowdfunding his next book.
His campaign is not hosted on Kickstarter (which is, I believe, still off-limits for Europeans), but on Indiegogo. I just backed it and am happy to report that the process is very smooth, with Indiegogo not even asking you to create an account.
Markus has now reached 92% of his stretch goal (7.500 euros) and I’d love to see him make it. Maybe we could even convince him to talk about his crowdfunding experience on another MoSho episode?
Whatever the case, you can help. If you’re into illustration and would like to learn about graphic lyrics, please check out his campaign!