I like YouTube. In fact, I like it a little too much. I’ve found myself spending much to much time just bouncing around watching the “recommended videos” they serve up.

Because I wanted to get distracted less, I installed a really nice FireFox plugin – one that hides all YouTube recommended videos.

This only has affected the YouTube experience on my desktop and laptop machines, but something interesting has happened.

My addiction was junk-video addiction has been completely broken.

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Getting a business off the ground requires a lot more than just a good idea and some luck. It requires intestinal fortitude, a will of steel, infinite patience and unstoppable persistence.

The good news is that if you have those things, it’s a cake walk.

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A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Two and a half years ago I left the corporate programming world to work full-time on my own software business. It’s gone well and I have no regrets, but sometimes it’s been tough – the most challenging times have often involved being socially isolated. I don’t talk to another soul most days of the week, something which took getting used to.

Being isolated for long periods of time creates a perspective that is difficult, if not impossible to arrive at in standard employment where one regularly interacts with those who have bought into the ethos of modern culture.

What follows are some ways to increase life satisfaction in this culture.

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It’s easy to avoid taking risks and get lulled into a sense of comfort for long periods of time.

Avoid this.

The Comfort Zone Trap

Being risk averse and always trying to stay ‘comfortable’ is a prescription for boredom, depression and fragility. It ensures you’ll live in an ever-shrinking box.

This picture from Feel the Fear…And Do It Anyway sums up the concept beautifully.

comfort-zone

Give yourself gentle pushes

Start taking small risks and intentionally push against the boundaries of your comfort zone. Then do it again. And again. Eventually you’ll notice your comfort zone expand as habituation takes hold.

And then you’ll notice the quality of your life improve.

Later on you may actually become addicted to taking risks, which is a hell of a lot better way to live than cowering in a shrinking box.

Do you ever get the nagging feeling that something isn’t “quite right” with modern daily life, but can’t really put your finger on it? You know what I’m talking about – the whole, 9-5, the commute, the coming home just to pop on the TV or surf around looking at some bullshit, going to sleep, then getting up the next morning just to do the same thing.

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Feel trapped in your current job? Career hit a dead-end? Or maybe you’re just sick of the corporate grind all-together.

Many people feel this way. The problem is that most think this is “just the way it is” and that’s that.

I’m here to strongly proclaim that the nonsensical existence many of us lead is neither the way it could be, nor is it even “natural” in terms of the evolutionary path our ancestors traversed.

I firmly believe you can change your life situation to be much more in line with your natural tendencies. A life of meaningful work inline with your inborn talents. Spending your time doing the activities you value. In other words being “The Real You”.

All that’s required is patience, discipline and a bit of knowledge.

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For those that have who have found it difficult to proceed along the path of their calling, there isn’t a better book than The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  Although geared toward authors, I consider this an essential read for anyone attempting to create something of their own that they feel is true to themselves, outside the guidance of a boss or other figure we typically rely on to keep us on track.

This book as highly complementary to Beyond Success and Failure which is all about self-reliance by breaking free of your child-like dependencies.  If you’re ever going to live up to your true potential you’re going to have to quit paying attention to outside forces and summon the bravery to undertake your true calling.

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Almost everyone in modern life has some degree of stress and worry. In recent months, I’ve discovered the philosophy of ‘Stoicism’ and it offers an amazingly helpful technique for dealing with the troubles of modern life.

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When the United States just originated, it was common for poor European immigrants to sign indentured servitude contracts. These contracts were sold by captains of ships and would state that in exchange for passage to the new world, the immigrant agreed to work a set number of years once they arrived in the new world.

Upon landing in America, these people would essentially become slaves for the length of the contract.

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What follow are my personal notes and direct quotes from the amazing book Beyond Success and Failure: Ways to Self-Reliance and Maturity.  I read quite a few books each year and along the way I do lots of highlighting and typically write notes into a Google Document.

This time around I figured that it would be better to just put the notes on Taming Life since others may find this information valuable.

Overview: The book helps people who are depressed, anxious, nervous, etc overcome these tendencies and become more self-reliant.  Much of what causes unhappiness is firmly rooted in childhood patterns people carry with them into adulthood. These tendencies can be overcome with a combination of awareness and hard work.

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