Prose Styles – Plainsong and Baroque

In prose, there are two different styles. Plainsong and Baroque. You might have heard of them. Let me explain each one briefly, and provide an example piece of text telling the same story in the two different styles.

Plainsong

Short sentences, not many adjectives and adverbs. Blunt and straightforward.

The little girl came in. She murmured something to the teacher. She left the room running. The teacher announced the secret to the classroom. The girl had a crush on me. They all laughed.

Baroque

Ornamented. A lot of subordinate clauses. A lot of adjectives and adverbs, Pile on of detail and syllables.

The little girl peeked with scared and longing eyes from the hallway. The teacher turned her humongous body around to look at the girl pacing back and forth behind her. “What is it?” she said. The little girl came in and covered her mouth and the teacher’s ear with her little hands. She murmured a magic spell that transformed the teacher’s face from worry to a devious smile. The little girl disappeared in an instant, her little steps still echoing in the silence of the school hallways during class time. The classroom was silent like the crowd at a funeral, waiting for the priest to speak. And she did speak. “She said she liked the skinny white boy sitting at the front seat,” the teacher said leaning on her desk, her belly fat coming off each side of her chair. Everyone looked at me. I wished they would speed it up and bury me already. Instead, they took their time and ate me alive.

Each style has its use. The former gives the reader a sense of urgency, which is what you want in a fast paced thrill of a story, or a piercing comedy. The latter concentrates on the detail, and puts the reader inside the situation; the writer takes the reader’s hands and shows him the world as the writer sees it, through all five senses.

Now it’s your turn. Practice each style. Which style is best for your project? Which one will help move your story forward? Consider keeping a journal, and reflect upon these questions daily. You can even fix your morning routine while you’re at it.

On Perseverance

There are steps you take when you have the thought of eating a homemade meal, and when it happens. You comb through your pantry and refrigerator and make a list of items you need. Then you drive up to the supermarket and grab a cart. You pick up your groceries, one by one, as dictated by the list you made earlier that day. Then you stand in line, while you go through your social media apps and emails in a matter of seconds. After promptly paying for what is in your cart, you drive back home and place everything neatly in its right place.

The recipe is readily available online for you to follow along. In less than an hour, you are eating a healthy meal. Before you take the first bite though, someone else chewed it up for you. Someone else made your dish a thousand times until they created the perfect balance of flavours to put in a recipe. The ingredients were raised, killed, snapped off the ground and packaged for your convenience. The banks figured out a way for you to have credit cards in your pockets. Teams of engineers got together for countless sleepless nights to produce your car. Oil was taken out of the ground so that you could go faster. The city paved the roads and provided electricity so that the food does not spoil.

Furthermore, an indication of your progress lit your way from idea to meal. The green traffic lights. The big signs on the supermarket aisles. The total illuminated price at the checkout counter. All an indication that the goal was at reach. Then the oven lets you know the temperature was right, and 30 minutes later, the timer let you know that it was time to plate your dish.

On your way to your desired life, there are no such indications. It is quite easy to wake up one morning with full motivation and finish the day back at square zero. Being in an entitled society, we abandon any action that does not produce an immediate result or reward. 

It is easier to maintain a job where your pyramid father gives you orders on your most productive eight hours of your day. Conformity is the weighted blanket of closeted depressives. Why change the status quo, if it allows us to buy the next subscription or video game? The answer: because of the feeling you get when your favorite artist gets their reverence from the emotional crowd. The grumbling on your stomach as you drive by the “rich” part of town and your wife gives out a squeal when you drive by their houses. Because deep down inside, we are all Michael Jordans, but only a small few work at it every day until it becomes a reality.

That is the secret path to success every single person talks about when they answer questions about their life. They never gave up, even when it seemed all was lost. They knew inside of them that there was no plan B. If you are a writer, the first time you become published is not an indicator that you are on the right track, but a sign that you passed the test of time. You stuck around long enough to put in your 10,000 hours and become an expert. You took the hundreds of rejections as a challenge, and not as an excuse to turn back around. 

The actor John Krasinski (Jim from The Office, director of A Quiet Place) has the perfect anecdote to prove my point. He tells the story of him trying to make it as an actor. For two and a half years, he was going to auditions and attempting to make it. Two and a half years of not getting the recognition he was seeking. Just as he was about to call it quits, he got his breakthrough role in The Office.

If you are venturing into something new, let me tell you right now, you are not good at it. At least not as good as the competition. To be great is to be disciplined. The test of time is something we must all pass if we want the pot of gold at the other side. Most people get distracted by the various gold chocolates lying on the floor. 

I don’t know who will read this, or what you are trying to do with your life. But if you love it, stick with it.

Read more:

https://gum.co/APwhS

relvingonzalez.com

Dad Conquers Paris

“It will be fine,” said my dad while wheeling my grandmother into an elevator the size of a fridge box. My mother, my sister, and I were already inside. The elevator had a steel plaque that read: “500 Lb limit.” “You asked for it,” the elevator said in mechanical whirls as it started its impossible descent. A floor and a half in, it stopped in its tracks. Our only help was a non-English speaking receptionist. My mother dropped to the floor to be able to breathe. My dad and I forced the elevator open. The receptionist stared. Welcome to Paris.

Dad Conquers Belgium

My dad looked embarrassed. It is a mask he wears often. Everyone in the room started laughing after the hotel employee told us that the box in the closet was a safe and not a microwave—the meat sandwich we brought back for our grandmother laid inside, secure, and uneaten. I was sure after we left that Belgium was not the same country that saw us arrive. Two disagreeable adults, two teenagers in the apex of apathy, and a grandmother in a wheelchair drawing some unfair comparison between that country and hers. And wait until I tell you about Paris.

A Good Day

More than 12 hours have passed since my two older brothers last tried to kill each other. The house is quiet, too quiet. Every second feels too soon to let go of the knot in my stomach. My hands still tremor as an effect of the last brawl, but not so much. There is no time to waste. I open the gate that kept me safe to examine the house. The gaming console in the living room is turned off and not being used, and my homework is complete. I think this will be one of the good days.

Transcluding in Ancient Times: AngularJS

I attempted transcluding in multiple slots before multiple slot transclusion was invented in AngularJS. Weapon of choice: AngularJS 1.3.4.

My use case was to create a customizable table that could be reused by changing the table columns and headers. The goal was to keep some functionality and styling throughout the different uses but only change the columns and headers displayed.

Available Approaches

  • Use column data as a property passed to the directive.
  • Multiple transclusions – I liked this approach, but AngularJS does not support slotted transclusions until version 1.5, I am using 1.3.4.
  • Create an entirely new custom table directive with Divs and CSS it into looking like a table with display: table., etc.

Column Data

In this case, it works fine for simple columns with primitive data, but not with complex columns with a lot of HTML and bindings in each cell. Plus, it would fill up the controller with a bunch of large objects and HTML.

Custom Table

Creating my own custom table would be a substantial amount of time and work. I believe this approach would be the most prone to errors, not only programmatically, but also visually. It would also be less readable than the other options. I would have to make sure I use the correct CSS and maintain it in such a way that it looks and behaves like a table. I usually opt to “go with the flow” when it comes to code. Whenever I find myself adding workarounds, I know I must have made a wrong turn somewhere and need to head back to the drawing board.

For the courageous out there, these are the HTML template and the CSS stylings you would need to get you started:

<div class="table">
  <div class="tr">
    <div class="td">Row 1, Cell 1</div>
    <div class="td">Row 1, Cell 2</div>
    <div class="td">Row 1, Cell 3</div>
  </div>
  <div class="tr">
    <div class="td">Row 2, Cell 1</div>
    <div class="td">Row 2, Cell 2</div>
    <div class="td">Row 2, Cell 3</div>
  </div>
</div>
div.table {border: 1px solid black; display: table; }
div.tr {border: 1px solid black; display: table-row; }
div.td {border: 1px solid black; display: table-cell; }

Multiple Transclusions

Creating a custom directive that handles multiple transclusions seemed like the obvious choice, but it was not straightforward or documented in a way that made it easy.

There were a bunch of cases to consider. For one, the transcluded elements might have transcluded content as well as directives. The transcluded content had to be compiled the right way.

Enter the transclude function

The transclude function (fifth parameter in the link function in a directive, fourth in the controller of a directive) returns the compiled transcluded data. Inside this function, you can also append the cloned element. You can also specify what scope to be used when compiling the elements.

const transcludedContent = transclude(scope, function(clone) {});

Then, you can choose what to do with the compiled data. In most cases, you would either append it or replace the directive’s element HTML with it. In this case, the element is the directive’s jqLite element, which has some functionality from JQuery.

element.replaceWith(transcludedContent);

Now it was a matter of selecting what part of the element to replace with the transcluded and compiled data. I chose the “name” attribute to tag the parts of the transcluded data:

const selector = `[name=${attrs.relvinMultipleTransclude}]`;

An Example

Let’s look at an example. Transcluding multiple elements in different parts inside the my-directive directive. Inside the transcluded data the parts tagged(name=”headers” and name=”columns”) would look something like (using Jade as an HTML processor):

        my-directive
            table
              tr(name="headers")
                th Name
                th     
              tr(name="columns")
                td
                  p {{item.name}}
                td
                  a(href="" ng-click="goToDetails()") Go to details    

On a side note: When transcluding parts of a table this way, you need to wrap them inside a table element, or else the browser will remove them (td, th, etc).

Inside the my-directive‘s template, the HTML slots for each transclusion would look like:

.my-directive
  table
    thead
      tr
        th(relvin-multiple-transclude="headers")       
    tbody
      tr(ng-repeat="item in items")
        td(relvin-multiple-transclude="columns") 

And finally, the relvinMultipleTransclude directive would look like:

angular.module('relvinAmazingApp')
  .directive('relvinMultipleTransclude', function () {
    return {
      controller: function($scope, $element, $attrs, $transclude) {
        if(!$transclude){
          throw {
            name: 'DirectiveError',
            message: 'relvin multiple transclude found without parent requesting transclusion'
          };
        }
      },
      link: function(scope, element, attrs, controller, transclude){
        const selector = `[name=${attrs.relvinMultipleTransclude}]`;
        //Get the entire compiled transcluded content
        const transcludedContent = transclude(scope, function(clone) {});
        //Replace the part needed for this directive in the correct slot
        element.replaceWith(transcludedContent.find(selector).contents());
      }
    };
  });

Conclusion

I found that the best way was to use multiple slot transclusion. In my case, I had to use an older version of AngularJS so I had to do implement a version fo this myself, but this should be readily available from AngularJS 1.5 by adding this to the directive definition:

transclude: {a:<nameA>, b:<nameB>}

To make our custom implementation work, we need three things:

  • transclude: true – in the directive containing the multiple transcludes
  • name = “{transcludeSlotName}” – in the transcluded content
  • relvin-multiple-transclude=”{transcludeSlotName}”- in the template where you want to transclude the elements. The transcludeSlotName must be the same as in step 2

I hope all this helps you and saves you hours of research and trial and error.

Note: This worked for my use case, you might have to tweak it to satisfy your needs.

A simple exercise to get out of a writer’s block

Reading time: 5 minutes

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Writer’s block is a widespread outbreak, but it has a cure. I bet you often wonder the same questions I do. “If I have a hyperactive brain that always gives me insomnia, how come there is a blank page before me when I try to put my thoughts down to paper?”

Usually, the problem is that I am acting as the editor and writer, instead of only concentrating on writing. Trying to be both at once bricks my head like a lousy jailbreak job.

When two drunk people at a bar are having a discussion, one talking louder on top of the other, nothing gets solved, and they both end up asleep, and, quite possibly, full of piss.

I have stumbled upon recently on the technique of simply writing. Shocking, I know. But this deceivingly simple strategy is often overlooked. We are so hard on ourselves, either to impress ourselves or others, that you try to go from thought, straight to published novel, without going through the gruesome and often illuminating process of drafting.

How I get out of my writer’s block

Just write. You read me. Just start writing. Get yourself off of your mind’s path and let it do what it does best, create. Don’t edit anything before writing it down, and don’t go back to fix errors or check if the sentences make any sense. Trust me, something interesting will come out of it.

Whenever you feel as if you’re trying to make sense of it and overthinking it, go back to only writing. The parallels to meditation are apparent. If you are doing it right, it will feel similar to meditating, as in your mind is empty, but instead of concentrating on the breath, your attention is in the word you are writing at that moment, nothing else.

In fact, I am using this technique as I’m writing this. I have not stopped writing since the beginning of this post, and I had no idea what to write about, to begin with.

First draft

Once you feel like you’ve run a small mental marathon, stop and go back through it, correcting any grammar mistakes or typos from all that blazing-fast writing.

The Invisible Audience

Now read it aloud as if you were giving a TED talk. You’ll immediately notice the parts that don’t sound right or are out of place. Fix those and reread it. Remain in this loop to satisfaction.

The Two Faced Critique

I call this one The Two-Faced Critique. First, reread your piece as if you were a fan of your work and point out three reasons why your writing rocks. It could be why you love it or why you think it works, given the medium used, context, and audience.

Then, do the opposite. Be like a merciless stuck up film critic who is secretly a frustrated director. Point out three things you hate about your writing and why it doesn’t work. Listening to both arguments, make the proper adjustments.

The Forced Audience

Now grab your spouse, friend, brother, mom, that guy shitting in the streets of New York behind a chapel(true story) and read your piece aloud once more, this time with an audience. Ask for honesty and put on the seatbelt. Take their comments into consideration and make changes as needed.

Conclusion

Whewww we made it! I wrote this whole post in one sitting. It is all about momentum. Once you give your analytical brain a break, your creative one can come alive!

Extra tools

Stephen King’s On Writing seems to be highly recommended on Reddit.

You can do everything, just not all at the same time

Next time you see a successful person think about that one ingredient, that one unknown human attribute that they have. They stand beside us and fill us with awe. We cannot even comprehend how a person, with the same necessary physical abilities as you, can achieve so much in so little time. “They must have some supergene,” we convince ourselves to think.

Some use this as an excuse not even to bother trying; others see it as the end to their goals. They become either their crutch or the finish line ribbon they must break to feel satisfied with their existence.

The truth is, there is no magic sauce. No one is better than you at every single thing. The thing that they appear to be better than you at, they just cultivated through hours upon hours of obsessive behavior and impeccable work ethic. Most people who seem to have this “magic sauce” become great at one thing, or at least one thing at a time. The phrase “you can do anything, but not everything” holds, but you should rephrase it as: “You can do everything, just not all at the same time.”

A stack of startup books. Do everything you want, but not all at once.
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

For example, if becoming a great reader of many books was a new year’s resolution, then you have two options: do you want to finish as many books as you possibly can, or do you want to have the complete comprehension of all the books that you read? One involves moving quickly, the other moving intelligently. Reading as many books as possible becomes a simple task then when all you want is to make a list of the books you have read and know that no one will question you about them. But instead, your goal should probably be to grow your intelligence and comprehension about the topics you are reading.

One or two books a month, and writing down a summary of what you read that day in a piece of paper( to reinforce comprehension) is probably a much better use of your time than turning pages with no goal other than getting to “The End.” Focus is the secret ingredient that makes people the best at one thing. They take their time, obsess over this single goal and maintain a laser-like focus on it.

Take online courses. I have been a proponent of online classes from the moment I found out that they existed. Other people close to me prefer the environment of a traditional classroom where people can ask questions, and live discussions are allowed to brew. This classroom environment had the opposite effect on me, though, an introverted person who merely survived this environment by sitting in the back, hiding behind someone, and praying that the teacher never put me in the spot.

Taking online courses, though, I could not only absorb the material at my own pace, but I could do so without the constant stress of being the center of attention. That can be a double-edged sword, of course, because some people will play the course videos on the background and skip the optional quizzes and projects. To get the most out of it, you have to treat online courses as traditional courses. You have to turn everything off but the video of the lesson you are watching. You have to put in the hours and do the work.

Doing the work

Image with a cup that says Hustle
Photo by Garrhet Sampson on Unsplash

Doing the work is where most of us fall short of the task. Most of us aim, get distracted by something else, then lower our bow and never take the shot. We don’t want to do the work. We satisfy our brain pathways by merely talking about how “how great life would be if…” and then we abandon a project before even starting it.

Take at least a month and do the work. Reassess your project when the end of the month comes to decide if: You need another month, you will take a break from it, or you will abandon it forever. Not everything we think we want to do is as it seems from the outside. Maybe you have always wanted to be a commercial airline pilot. Still, when you enroll in small airplane courses, and you get to fly one for the first time, you realize how stressful and fearful you feel and get to experience first hand what it is, versus what you perceived it to be. That’s ok. You tried it, and now you can move on to the next thing.

The greats in any field make things look a lot simpler than they are. That is what seduces us. Take a rockstar, for example. Most of us wanted to be a rockstar at some point in our lives. I know I did. They make it look so simple and execute it with so much confidence. What they never talk about is the grueling schedule they need to have to make it to all the gigs to which they have committed. Traveling from one place to another and playing full sets with almost no real rest. That, without also considering the emotional pain of playing or singing the same songs that you wrote probably on your darkest hours of your life. To relive those emotions has to have a toll on you.

They are having to play full shows while sick or having to interact with interviewers, fans, and any human being that crosses their path in a kind and mild manner, even when you don’t feel like it. Who is perfectly calm, collected, and kind, with an ethical, moral compass 100% of the time? Why do we expect this, then, of artists? Public and press criticism adds another level of complexity.

Busy entrepreneur walks out of his office
Photo by Bram Naus on Unsplash

Take also inventors, founders, CEOs, and the “evil” wealthy businessmen of any country. People criticize them for earning too much money for the little work they do. They compare their salary to their employees. Nobody talks about their 2 hour sleep days, never-ending meetings to keep the company afloat so that hundreds, maybe thousands of employees do not lose their jobs. No one discusses coming up with new ideas so that the company stays relevant, and the fact that their workday usually doesn’t begin at 9 am or end at 6 pm. It is typically never-ending, especially at the beginning. While their friends are binge-watching or binge-drinking, they are binge-packaging their product and mailing it themselves.

These people are approaching business owners randomly to talk about their services, and they are trying to get investors to lift them off the ground when they have already poured and risked all their cash and time investment they possibly can. They are learning website design while trying to keep up with the arbitrary IRS rules because they have no money to pay anyone else to do it for them. They could be homeless at any moment, and you call them up to invite them to a local bar, and then hang up on them mad that they keep saying: “No.”

Next time you criticize an entertainer, businessman, artist, or anyone who you deem is earning “way too much,” please consider all this.

Make a choice

Eventually, you have to make a choice. When you are 50-60-100 years old, will you be happy “As Is,” or would you wish you could return the product and get a refund? Will you complain, or will you try to understand? Will you talk about your plans and then fire up the grill or the gaming system, or will you write down simple, actionable steps to go through with your project?

You don’t have to do anything. That is the best thing about being an adult. It is all on you. But once you make a choice, you have to own it. You have to live with it forever. If you leave the Success Hotel, do not linger around in the Lobby, criticizing everyone that comes out of the room to walk around the city. Remember, you chose your life. Or at least, how you reacted to what you were given. A lot of successful people had impossible upbringings and illnesses or afflictions that would stop many on their tracks. You could have what they have if you put in the work.

We get used to it

Follow your pain as if it were a candle in the night, leading you to a place of decision. – Caroline Myss

I couldn’t swallow. No, this is not a sexual thing, but glad to know where your mind went. I had developed dysphagia, which is a condition where for one reason or another your swallowing mechanism is affected.

It all started with sandwiches. Eating a simple sandwich was taking me longer than everyone else at the table. People came in and left, satisfied, and I was still only halfway through. I was drinking so much liquid to get it down quickly, that I soon felt completely full with just a few bites. Weight started falling off, and with it came depression.

People eating at restaurant

People talking to me when I was eating became my ultimate fear, as I needed full concentration to consciously initiate a successful swallow. Food stopped tasting of anything. It became a way to get enough nutrients inside my body so I wouldn’t die.

Backing up, the first few symptoms were indigestion and a strange taste in my throat. Doctors attributed it to acid reflux without doing any studies to ascertain this. I took the medications they put in my hands without researching them. I trusted science.

I blindly took these pills on days I felt the weird taste on my mouth. The more I took these, the better I felt, but the worse I felt when I stopped. So I continued taking them, on and off for a few months. Then, after one sleepless night of reflux, nausea and other sensations I decided to put the name of the pills on trusty ‘ol Google. The search results were shocking, from personal blogs to medical journals. Everything and everyone was against them. So why even prescribe them? A future blog post will further explore that question.

Doctors operating on patient Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

I stopped taking them overnight. This was the first of a few futile attempts that spanned almost two years, combined with many doctor visits, three endoscopies, three ER visits, one manometry, changes in medications, miracle potions and homeopathic solutions. It led me to psychologists, meditation, yoga and everything under the sun and moon. It convinced me that no one knows anything about anything when it comes to being healthy. You get thrown everything at you until something sticks, but there is no one definitive cure to definitive ailments.

After a year of this, I didn’t feel sick anymore because it became my routine. My “normal”. My square one. Pulling up my pants to keep them from falling down was casual. Carrying bags of groceries to a second-floor apartment was a lot more interesting. I went to medical studies and doctor visits like I was taking out the trash, or getting the mail. Another thing to do. Doctors didn’t seem to care, so I stopped, too. “Anxiety”: the lazy doctor’s solution to everything. I took pills for that, too.

When you go to a doctor, you expect someone like Dr. House. Someone who will stay with you until they find out what’s wrong with you and provide a cure. Either doctors are not as brilliant, or just not as interested as Mr. Gregory in solving a puzzle. Getting to the next patient, to comply with some quota, seems like a better deal. When they can’t figure something out quickly, they just stick “Anxiety” on your forehead and move on. It’s easy, and after taking the pills you get docile, sleepy and forget the whole thing. Try getting off of them after a while, though.

My parents came to my city to visit, and I took them to tourist spots. Whenever we stopped at a restaurant I wouldn’t eat anything. I would bring my own shakes and smoothies and drank them in the car. My family felt as if saying things like: “If you don’t eat then we won’t eat either,” would help. It was harder to accept for them than it was for me.

I had stopped fighting and just learned to survive. I stopped comparing myself to when eating a meal took 5 minutes, and I started comparing myself to the time when I couldn’t even drink a smoothie without it feeling strange. That’s when I realized that we, as human beings, just get used to things. We learn to survive. We adapt.

Our life is malleable. It is ever-changing and we change with it, like a surfer finding his perfect wave. Our first reaction is to pull back, throw tantrums, be angry with the world and think the darkest thoughts about life. I saw firsthand that if we just stick with it long enough, our bodies and mind will create the antidote, the answer. A new path will be forged. We become alchemists.

Months after living like this, I began eating at restaurants. Soups and easy stuff, at first. Continuing with the things I felt worked for me such as meditation, not eating or drinking anything hours before bed and giving myself an 8-hour sleep opportunity (as explained on Why We Sleep). I trained myself how to be a social person again.

You get used to your situation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t evolve in some way. Adapting is merely to create a ground zero from where you can rise again. It is a defense mechanism to stop you from falling further. Think about the thrusters on a rocket. Eventually, you have to propel yourself upwards. Adapt, survive, but eventually live.

This post is to remind you, and myself, to not be shell shocked when something bad happens. Instead, let it sink in, float on it for a while. Don’t ignore your pain. Follow it. Allow your mind to build a new path in front of you.

Morning Routines: How to Rise Like a Phoenix

Morning routines are not an easy thing to maintain consistently. Some of us wake up and swim in wet dreams of social media acceptance and procrastination. Minutes or hours go by before we even set foot from our beds. We then proceed to load our bodies with carbs in the form of sugary pseudo breakfasts. Even if we sleep well and get off on the right foot, these two, and even more, simple morning routines make us switch feet on the fly and continue our day onwards with the wrong foot.

From my experience in life, and reading books and interviews from people who are smarter or wealthier than me, I have learned a few things that I can do consistently to achieve a state of homeostasis. No ups and downs of sugar. No cravings. No procrastination loop. Here they are:

Sleep

In fact, this is more of a step 0. You probably have read or heard it all before:

  • Never eat or look at blue light two hours before bed
  • meditate
  • do not do rigorous exercise before bed
  • light reading
  • if you can’t fall asleep in half an hour, do not stay to toss, and turn and go into another room and do a relaxing activity.

I will go beyond that:

Find your relaxing sound

Mine are two things: videos of people painting(paintbrush sounds hypnotize me into dreamland) and more recently an alarm I got for Christmas that uses sound and light therapy to help fall asleep and stay asleep while also waking you up in a calming way.

For some people, this can be ASMR, white noise, the sound of rain, the ocean, the sound of people typing on computers, handling papers, or anything else. Find your sound.

Extract the thoughts right out of your head

Really. Either keep a journal where you can empty your mind or use apps like Nirvana. I would advise that you first read the book “Getting things Done” by David Allen to learn how to take actionable steps to solve the problems or complete the projects in your head. The most important thing is not to have them sticking around in the lobby of your mind hotel, kick them out!

For the love of god, speak!

I used to think that by keeping things to myself, I was doing two things: appear stronger than I was, and not burden others with my dilemmas. Meanwhile, It did not occur to me that everyone else was doing the opposite to me. They would dump their issues and then go quietly and joyfully into the night, leaving me with not only my problems to bear but also with all of theirs.

Follow their example. Talk! If you are married or have a significant other, they love it when you share. Trust me. Try it and then notice how you feel afterward. It is very possible that two things will happen:

  • The problem will look a million times smaller than it seemed
  • He/she will help you find a solution

Either way, it is a win-win-win situation.

Extra tools that may help relax you

Meditate

The first thing I do after waking up, as other successful people have done, is meditating. Together with journaling, meditating can become an essential part of your morning routine. It helps you to being the day with the right mindset.

Journal

The second thing I do after rising is journaling. It does not have to be a long entry. You can use a blank journal, or one with prompts to help you start.

When following stoic journaling, you should focus on what worries you and work out what is out of your control, things that you are grateful for, and how can you improve on your faults.

Or you can write 3 pages of stream of consciousness writing, as explained in “The Artist’s Way”. Approx. time: 30 minutes.

Make your bed

It might sound silly. But momentum is everything. You have to put your mind in a state of “can-do attitude”. Your brain will see your bed well made, and it will add translate it as an accomplishment. Many people speak of this, like Tony Robbins.

Light exercise

To add to the momentum, this would be a great place to add a small exercise routine here — a few jumping jacks, pushups, planks, or squats. I sometimes add kettlebell swings to my morning exercise routine.

UPDATE: I have replaced light exercise with a full-on exercise routine from fitnessblender.com every morning. Check out their programs!

Breakfast

Morning routines breakfast: a cup of coffee
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

After the other obvious activities(brushing teeth, shaving, etc) eat some food (unless you are doing intermittent fasting).

I try to keep my carb count as low as possible in my breakfast. Protein and healthy fats like eggs, avocados, and even yummy bacon are great choices. Just don’t include any cereals, oat, or bread. If you do, you will feel sluggish and it will motivate procrastination and more bad dietary choices.

Make it fun. Try Gordon Ramsay’s scrambled eggs recipe or another of many great low carb breakfasts out there.

Drink only water or black coffee.

Walk

A great morning routine is taking a walk around your neighborhood after breakfast. Not only will you aid your body in digestion and get a healthy dose of vitamin D, but you will also contribute to your circadian rhythm.

While walking, I usually listen to the Joe Rogan Podcast, the Tim Ferris Show, or music masterpieces(like We’re Here Because We’re Here from Anathema).

Email

At this point, it’s safe to check your emails. Again, following the philosophy behind the book, “Getting things done,” the goal is to empty your inbox, assigning things a next sectional step, or committing block of time where you will work on that until completion or until the black of time is over. Also, read Tim Ferriss‘s book ” The Four Hour Workweek,” you might benefit from his email batch technique in which he explains that you should only check your email a couple of times a day. Both of these techniques invite you to not fall into the black hole of checking emails and responding or putting out fires as they happen.

More often than not, emergencies are not emergencies. People, if left alone long enough, can usually find solutions to their problems without needing your input.

Say Yes

I often take some time to say yes to activities I have a deep desire to partake in. As “Getting to Yes with Yourself” explains, often, we are involved in conflicts or general stress in life because we have stopped listening to our inner voice. We say yes to everyone but to ourselves. Take some time and do exactly what you want to be doing and take care of your deepest inner desires.

Conclusion

Morning Routines can be beneficial if you can harness their potential power. But these methods can only work if you actively pursue to accomplish them every single day. No cheating. Try these tips for at least a month and comment below what changes you have noticed.