The Poison of Comfort

Most of us are prisoners to comfort. Our lives are shaped, adjusted, and optimized to experience all sorts of pleasure. Take the common experience of taking a dump. The toilet seat is not too high or low as to elicit discomfort while sitting or squeezing. The lighting is soft and there are usually good smelling agents to mask your butt smell. The toilet paper is soft and textured for easy excavation. If you are in Japan, the toilet will even shoot water on your cheeks while playing soothing music. The removal of the poop only requires pushing a handle and sometimes no work at all with automatic flushers. After the disposal, you wash your hands in water that required no effort to gather. I love a good bathroom experience just as much as the next fricker but it made me think how we get use to all the luxuries in our life.

Being an adult has a lot of perks. Many of these perks include choice: what to eat, when to sleep, where to vacation, what we live in, who we spend time with, etc. Of course we don’t get everything we want but on a daily basis we do a good job at being comfortable. I love being able to make choices to optimize my day to day life. The problem with comfort is that we can quickly adapt and become use to our hedonism. This adaptation happens because we become accustomed to stimulus overtime. For example, the comfy bed becomes the norm, the running water becomes the norm, the after-work ice cream becomes the norm. These small comforts are great but we tend to desire more comfort stimulus overtime. That stinky hotel that you thought was the beezneez when you were 20 is now replaced with the Hilton. The shower head that cleaned you countless of times is now in the trash replaced by ShowerHead10000XSuperMax. Is it bad to increase this comfort? What is wrong about wanting to stay in a Hilton?

Inherently nothing. Who doesn’t want a shower head that mimics Niagara Falls? There is a problem though when comfort is not countered by the uncomfortable. We need contrast in our lives so that we avoid hedonic adaptation and the ever increasing desire for stimulus. Being uncomfortable is not a popular pursuit but it is so essential to a happy life. A great example of this is when the lights go out during a storm. We take for granted the comforts of electricity and in its absence we are uncomfortable. But when those lights turn on again there is a rush of euphoria that is quite pronounced. Another example would be camping. Sure, you may have a great time (or not) but everyone would agree that going home to your own bed feels like heaven. This is because the stimulus changed and we had enough contrast to forestall the adaptation process. This concept can be applied to everything. Is your sex life dull? A lot of people may go for a bigger and better sex stimulus. No need. Just take a break and let that stimulus become novel again. House to small? Most people would say get a bigger house. No need. Make it a goal to use half your house for a month. After that your brain will explode with all the available space. Use contrast to better your life, limit excess, and experience optimal happiness. Comfort, although awesome, is a drug and can be poisonous-consider this an intervention.

The Essence of Essentialism

Has anyone heard about or seen news concerning the Flint water crisis? My wife and I live in Flint and we have been faced with the real life scariness of not having clean water for daily usage. Water is one of those things that is 100% essential to health and happiness. Fortunately our water is now clean because we just purchased a whole house filtering system which will last for 1,000,000 gallons (a crap ton). This water scare has made me hyper aware of what is truly essential in our lives. To further explore what is essential in my life I picked up Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.

Essentialism is very similar to minimalism because it seeks to rebuke excess in our lives. It is different however because it impacts all avenues of life whereas minimalism (in my opinion) focuses more on decreasing material possessions. So what does it mean to be an Essentialist?

The Essentialist…

-Pauses constantly and asks, “Am I investing in the right activities?”

-Doesn’t focus on getting more things done but rather the right things done

-Says “no” to everything except the essential

-Realizes there can only be one priority at a time

-Thinks almost all things are nonessential

-Creates time to escape and explore life

-Hears what is not being said

-Makes playing and sleeping priorities

-Makes one decision that will eliminate multiple future decisions

-Says “yes” only to the things that matter

-Is comfortable cutting losses

-Practices preparation and buffers for unexpected events

-Removes obstacles to progress

-Celebrates small acts of progress

-Keeps their thoughts in the present

-Enjoys the moment

-Asks what is important right now

The Essentialist lifestyle can be summed up by the German saying-Weniger aber besser-“Less but better”. I’m sure most people can identify with a few aforementioned attributes but the key to being an Essentialist is that all facets of life are defined by only those things that are essential. So what is essential? On a biological level, healthy food, water, sleep, exercise, and shelter are essential. On a psychological/spiritual level, autonomy, control, friendship, play, meditation, and purpose are essential. And the most essential of all…TIME. We need to construct our lives so that time is abundant. Without time we will push aside essentials and fill our lives with cheap fillers: material objects, social media, pride, vanity, power, etc. We need to remember that LESS is better and that the more we refine our priorities the more poignant our life’s purpose will become.

 

 

 

 

 

Bohemian Caveman

Today marks a new milestone in my life with a domain name that I can call my own…BohemianCaveman.com.

The goal of this website is to give you tools and knowledge to improve every dimension of health so that you can become the best version of yourself. 

So what the frick is a “Bohemian Caveman?” Well, the definition of Bohemian is as follows

a person, as an artist or writer, who lives and acts free of regard for conventional rules and practices.

This definition hit me in the stomach and I feel that my life closely aligns with this funny sounding word. In what ways am I Bohemian?

  1. I spend my free time writing book reports 
  2. I decided to live in one of the most dangerous cities in America (still alive and happy)
  3. I practice meditation and seek to understand my inner consciousness.

Of course, I have a long way to go in becoming a complete personification of the word but I think I have been slowly moving in the direction my entire life.

So what about the Caveman part?

  1. I am a man with a beard.
  2. I am a Registered Dietitian who adheres to the Paleo/Primal lifestyle.
  3. I exercise through functional movements: yoga, walking, weight lifting, and mountain biking.

So what the heck is this blog about? My goal is to make this blog about the improvement of our Mind, Body, and Soul. My previous readers experienced the Mind posts and those will continue into the future. I will post about food, exercise, meditation, yoga, religion, history, self-improvement, minimalism, and a whole host of material that fits into the Mind, Body, Soul categories.

Thank you for the support and let’s continue this awesome journey…

 

Moby’s Manor

As of recent, I have been involved with an all consuming project that is sucking me dry of time and money. This occupation is the complete remodeling of my first home. I bought the house for 10,000 dollars and let’s just say it needed a crap ton of work. We had to put in new plumbing, new doors, new windows, new insulation, a new kitchen, a new bathroom, new paint, new furniture, new EVERYTHING!!! The project has ballooned into a beast that I brawl with on a daily basis. Some days I jab the beast but most days the beast punches me in the nuts. The beast has taken away one of my most precious possessions-time. Usually, I try to read two books a week and write subsequent posts; that has been extremely difficult and I feel saddened that I am deterred from my passion of knowledge. Thankfully, audiobooks were invented for these situations and I was able to listen to Moby-Dick by Herman Melville during these tumultuous weeks. To put it plainly, Moby-Dick is a masterpiece of writing and I would highly recommend listening to it on audiobook. The characters are brought to life in a way that traditional reading could never accomplish. I was able to hear the seamans’ accents, the pagans’ baritones, the shipmates’ whispers, and the fervor of Captain Ahab. The auditory reading of Ahab’s monologues will send shivers down your spine and really make you understand his obsession with the White Whale.

Ahab was a man on a mission. He could not eat, sleep, or spend one minute of his day without it being tainted with the thoughts of harpooning Moby-Dick. His pursuit of the whale was put at the highest priority and not money, family, or whale oil could deter him from his final goal. Moby-Dick was Ahab’s monster and in the end his vengeance sent him to a watery grave. It was quite fitting that I was reading Moby-Dick during what I felt was my own pursuit of a monster. I, like Ahab, could not think of anything but my project to a point where I was confused for a psychotic person. Stress, sadness, excitement, and a constant forward motion defined my everyday pursuit to “kill” my remodeling project. I was the Ahab of the land and I am still pursuing my whale. Hopefully, I will not let this project kill me but in all honestly it already has taken some of my philosophical beliefs. Before the project, I saw myself as a minimalist that followed Thoreau’s statement, “Give me the poverty that enjoys true wealth.” Now, after spending thousands of dollars I ask myself what is it that I have bought and will this bring me happiness? The whale of consumerism has swallowed me and I have sunk far into it’s rotten gut. This defiling of my beliefs is a great learning moment and I never want to forget my struggle with this beast. Moby’s Manor will be finished soon but I will never be finished fighting the urge to constantly complicate my life with excess. Simplicity and knowledge need to hone my harpoon for the white whales of my future.