Nice guys (and girls) finish first

Before I jump into my changes for the day, I wanted to spent a bit of time talking about the importance of helping others, and the benefits that come with it.

We’re sometimes told that it’s better to keep things to ourselves. For example, if you’ve spent a lot of time putting together study notes for an exam, your parents, friends, and the voice inside you might tell you to keep it to yourself. But I’ve realized that this strategy almost never works.

The people who are the happiest and most successful are the ones who constantly try to help others and are not focused on trying to get ahead themselves. The book Give and Take by Adam Grant is a great read on this subject for those interested.

Anyways, here are some of my changes for today:

  • I’m going to eat an orange in the shower every morning (A friend recommended trying this and apparently a lot of people have been doing this lately. I guess the logic is that eating an orange is normally very messy and sticky, but you don’t have to worry about it in the shower. Anyways, I don’t really see a downside to this so why not!)
  • I’m going to keep my kitchen cleaner, making sure to clean my dishes or put them in the dishwasher as soon as I’m done with them (I have a habit of not taking care of them right away but this should be an easy fix if I commit to making more of an effort)
  • I’m going to start writing down 10 different ideas every day (This is supposed to be very good for your creative side and gets easier and easier over time. They don’t have to be the best ideas in the world, but should identify some sort of problem or potential solution to that problem. I’m going to try to come up with 10 right now on the spot…
  1. An online suggestion box/platform created by the government (local, provincial, or federal) where everyone can post things they want changed. It could operate using an upvote system where the most popular ideas rise to the top, and the government can act on the changes people want most (i.e. better transportation, better schooling, etc.)
  2. An app where you can post a “challenge” for your friends to see, and they can choose to accept your “challenge” publicly and post/share their response (for example: I post a “challenge” saying do something nice for a stranger today, and friends can accept the challenge and post a video or a note about what they did)
  3. Develop a way for stores to know which customers don’t want/need a paper receipt. What I mean by this is that stores always print out a customer copy of the receipt for you, but I never need mine for things like grocery purchases. If the grocery store you go to each week knew that you didn’t need a receipt, they could avoid having to print you one. Although it might just be one small piece of paper, this could help reduce paper costs by a ton if it became widely used.
  4. A health app which cautions you when you do certain things (i.e. pick up an unhealthy food item at a grocery store, buy a pack of cigarettes, etc.). Ok, this one is a bit futuristic and probably not realistic for the time being, but give me a break ok, it’s hard to come up with 10 on the spot.
  5. A better way to listen to music in the shower. Ok, I know there are probably waterproof headphones and stuff, but the fact that they are not widely used means there is probably an opportunity here.
  6. A way to stop people from cracking their knuckles. I have a bad habit of doing this without thinking, and I wish there was an easy way to break this habit.

Ok I’m drawing a blank and need to get to sleep, but I guess this isn’t a bad start. Tomorrow I’m going to try to consciously think of problems throughout the day and jot them down, so that I can try to hit 10 each day.


Here’s the running list of changes I’ve made each day since I started a few weeks ago:

11-Mar-17: Starting taking cold showers (for the last 60 seconds)

12-Mar-17: Set goal of learning one new song per week on the guitar

13-Mar-17: Started listening to Audiobooks at 3–4x the speed

14-Mar-17: Started keeping my shoes organized

15-Mar-17: Decided to learn to juggle, practicing a few min daily

16-Mar-17: Began reading 3 book summaries (~10 min each) daily

17-Mar-17: Limit eating out to bare minimum, learn new recipe weekly

18-Mar-17: Limit alcohol to a bare minimum

19-Mar-17: No more snoozing alarm clocks, no more than 7 hrs sleep/night

20-Mar-17: Build tracker for bills as a reminder

21-Mar-17: Limit TV usage to 2 hours per day

22-Mar-17: Saying people’s names when I say hello, brushing teeth with weak hand, do one charitable thing a day, stretch for 10 minutes a day, spend 15 minutes a day on personal improvement

23-Mar-17: Picking up one piece of litter a day

24-Mar-17: Drink 3L of water a day

25-Mar-17: Start keeping track of calories with myfitnesspal

26-Mar-17: Try a day without the internet next weekend

27-Mar-17: Start attending weekly Toastmasters sessions to become a better public speaker, start meditating 5 minutes daily, take one online course at all times, learn to play the game “Go”

28-Mar-17: Sketch one thing at least once a month for the rest of 2017

29-Mar-17: Find a mentor by the end of April (to chat with on a regular basis)

30-Mar-17: Make it to work on time everyday, and start posting on Medium in the mornings

31-Mar-17: Start volunteering at least once a month (look into options and find a place by April 7th)

1-Apr-17: Start quizzing myself in Chinese for 10 min daily using a flashcard app; start shampooing hair every other day (as opposed to every day)

2-Apr-17: Explore downtown Toronto by riding bike each weekend in spring, summer, and fall of 2017; Bike the 24km to my parent’s place uptown and back at least once this summer

3-Apr-17: Start donating blood, register as an organ donor, use less energy heating and cooling home, start buying some fair-trade products, start using reusable bags when grocery shopping

4-Apr-17: Eat an orange in the shower each morning, keep kitchen clean, jot down 10 ideas every day