Category Archives: Experiment

Look within, always

I recently attended a family conference at which the speaker, among many other things blamed social media in general and Whatsapp in particular for the disconnection in relationships, particularly marriages. Later the same day, I found myself seated in a room with 5 comrades; four of us were busy on our phones while we waited for a colleague to walk in for a meetup. One of my friends noticed this and jokingly re-iterated the idea that mobile internet has made us become zombies; we were busy tweeting online when we should have been talking offline.

Less than 24 hours later, I was loitering on the ‘net when I bumped into an article by one Paul Miller, the gentleman who on April 30th, 2012, at 11:59PM unplugged his Ethernet cable, shut off his Wi-Fi, and swapped his smartphone for a dumb one and set out on a yearlong journey of living without the Internet. As a 26 year old experiencing burnout, Paul says he wanted “a break from modern life — the hamster wheel of an email inbox, the constant flood of WWW information which drowned his sanity”.

After one year of living without the Internet, Paul offers brilliant insight into his yearlong experiment and what it meant to him going forward. Allow me to sum it up in a few words: The Internet is not to blame for your problems; the moral choices that you face without the internet are not different from those that you face with the Internet. You are responsible.


Many many years before we invented the internet and before we begun speculating about social media and how it could be negatively impacting our personal life, relationships and our society, James Allen (1864-1912) had the following to say about the human condition in general:

“I looked around upon the world, and saw that it was shadowed by sorrow and scorched by the fierce fires of suffering. And I looked for the cause. I looked around, but could not find it; I looked in books, but could not find it; I looked within, and found there both the cause and the self-made nature of that cause. I looked again, and deeper, and found the remedy.
I found one Law, the Law of Love; one Life, the Life of adjustment to that Law; one Truth, the truth of a conquered mind and a quiet and obedient heart.”

In other words, when thinking about the things that make your life a living, it is always helpful to first start by looking inside; always. Do this as a matter of policy and you will not be further from the truth. You will not get lost in symptoms, because you will be looking at the real cause.

Take heed.

Feeling Blessed: The 30 day experiment #1

In my post on the areas of focus for the 2014, I mentioned that I wanted to conduct twelve 30 day personal development experiments during the course of the year. 2014 is already underway and it is time to get the party started. This evening I am commissioning the first 30 day experiment. It officially starts today and ends on 2nd February 2014. During this time, I want to actively and purposefully cultivate the habit of feeling blessed.

Below is a long extract of a long article by Steve Pavlina. I think he gives very useful tips of how this can be achieved and I want to try out some of his wisdom.

Set aside 20 minutes every evening before going to bed just to dream. Do this sitting up so you don’t fall asleep. Close your eyes or stare off into space, and think about what you want to experience in each part of your life. Whatever you think about is fine, as long as it feels good to you.

Imagine your ideal physical body. Think about your ideal relationships. Picture your ideal career. Imagine having your finances just the way you want them. Imagine living where and how you want to live. Be specific, and picture as much detail as you can. Don’t worry about getting the details perfect — just imagine details that seem attractive to you.

Make sure these imaginings are fully associated. This means that you imagine seeing each scene through your own eyes. Generally you should avoid using a third-person perspective, although you can try it if you want to imagine things from a different angle. Usually the first-person perspective will create stronger emotions.

You don’t have to say or affirm anything. But it’s crucial that you feel the feelings. If you feel neutral, you’re not there yet. How would you honestly feel if you were experiencing all of these wonderful things right now? If you’d feel totally neutral to have them right now, it’s safe to say you don’t really want them.

Don’t project your dreams into some distant future. Imagine that whatever you want is happening right now this very moment. Imagine that it’s 100% real.

If it takes you 10 or more minutes just to get a clear picture of some small part of your life getting better, then so be it. Put in the time. Deliberately thinking about what you want is a very important activity. This kind of visualization is an outstanding use of your time.

If you think about what you want, and you imagine it as real, but you get very little emotional surge from it, then drop it for a while, and imagine something else. Go bigger. Go bolder. Go sexier. Involve other people. Involve the whole planet if that’s what it takes to stir your emotions. It’s your imagination. You don’t need anyone’s approval to choose the thoughts that feel good to you.

Don’t spend much time thinking about what makes you feel relieved and comfortable. Think about what excites you. Imagine scenes that make you ooze with passion. If you have a hard time getting excited, then keep imagining different things. There’s no time limit.

I want to try a version of the above ritual for 30 solid days; I want to experience first hand the effect it has on my attitudes, my actions and my life during this period of time. I want some of it to rub on me and become a part of my outlook on life afterwards. I am also interested in seeing what unexpected changes this has on me. Perhaps 30 days is not enough to make certain changes in ones life but perhaps it is enough to ignite a fire. We shall see.

10% off! a one year experiment in Personal Finance

newkwachanotesThe year 2014 marks 10 years since I got my first job, after graduating from University. My first paid job was as “Computer Programmer” for a software development company in Lusaka. Coincidentally, 2014 also marks 10 years since I first started actively pursuing personal growth and development. A friend of mine had enthusiastically talked to me about the motivational material he had come across and how inspiring the material was. It was by a speaker I would later come to know as Les Brown. But at the time, I thought motivational speaking in particular and self-help in general was very shallow and was of the devil. So I didn’t pay much attention to it.

One day I was out with my friend and we were visiting the fellow who had introduced my friend to this motivational material. We found him watching one of Les Brown’s DVDs. I must say that I was very impressed with Mrs Mamie Brown’s Baby Boy. The next day, I sought for any downloadable Les Brown motivational material I could find on the ‘net. It was during this search that I came across James Allen’s classic self-help book “As a Man Thinketh”.  I read the book in one sitting; I was hooked. I had become a self-help addict.

Over the last 10 year, I have read a number of books on personal growth and development. The ones which have struck a chord in me have significantly shaped my worldview.

A few moments before sitting down to write this article, I was organizing my library. If you had been here with me you would have noticed something with my personal development library: there is almost no book in my library that talks about money; at least not in a very direct manner. In my library you will find books inclined towards themes espoused in books like “The Secret of the Ages”, “The Power of the Subconscious Mind” or “Mind Power”. You will also find inspiring tales like “The Alchemist”, “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” or “Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah” but you will almost never find “The Richest Man in Babylon” and certainly never “How to Get Rich and Retire Early” or “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”

For some reason, I have never been drawn to books that talk about personal finance. Things like retirement, building businesses, budgeting, savings, investments have sounded very artificial and very aloof to the mystical things that tag my heart.

That said I do realize that the pursuit and practice of financial wisdom is essential in everyday life. If ever I have regret in the first 10 years of my working life, it has to be that I have not actively pursued and practiced financial wisdom beyond what is necessary to survive month by month and year by year.

That is about to change because, as of this year 2014, I have decided to make some strong commitments in this regard. For the first time ever, I am conducting a yearlong experiment in the application of basic financial wisdom. I am hoping this will give me impetus for more changes and more pursuits in this area. I will start by stopping the bleeding; I am referring dealing with the expenditure side of my affairs. I am talking about starting to save, as a matter of personal financial policy, not just when it is convenient.

This year I am making a commitment to saving atleast 10% of my gross income every single time the money comes through. This money will be put away and not touched throughout the year. I know this will slowly begin to break the consumer mentality that is at the heart of most personal financial misconduct. For some of you, saving 10% of gross income seem to come naturally and therefore looks very simple, but for someone who has not had this as part of their financial practice for any consistent period in the last 10 years, then you know what I am up against.

Let the games begin.