How to Restore Focus and Wellbeing

Last year I have read amazing book Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention by Johann Hari. It was a part of checking what can cause issues during my life, why I sometimes feel bad and totally overwhelmed. This book does not resolve issues but gives a lot of information what can we do, to improve daily basics. Of course, as in many cases, after reading for a while I had some plans in my head, but then came other responsibilities and I lost them. In effect, last quarter was hard, I think the hardest in my carrer because I was even considering leaving the IT industry, temporarily or permanently.

There were a lot of factors: stress in work, some changes I did not accepted, other people actions and a lot of stuff on my head, not only in work, but also in personal life. I was “on the edge” when I was reminded of the most important principle of stoicism: focus on what you can control. So, I have decided to look for issues in my behavior and fix them, work on them to recover not only focus, but general wellbeing. During last few weeks, I have decided to cut, remove a lot of things from my life, especially digital stuff. Some of them may look strange, but results are amazing, especially for me, so I have decided to write a post about that, maybe it will help.

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ChatGPT Over a Year Later

Do you use ChatGPT or other, similar tool? I can say, I use it almost every day and for multiple purposes. Not only because of work – but it is probably the most beneficial in this area, but also in my personal life. To check some information, to get advice, to prepare trip plans or even to not forget about something important, when I will prepare to something. During last year it was transformed from some nice, maybe a bit exotic stuff into powerful tool we can – and maybe even should – utilize to simplify our lives and be more efficient. I know there is a lot of articles about ChatGPT, but I’ve decided to write what I think about that, also with some comparison to other “revolutions” we observed in last few years.

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Stoic self-review: two months later

At the end of last year, I became interested in Stoic philosophy and found something in it that attracted me a lot – above all, the values it follows. In all humility: stoicism is not an end to be achieved in itself, it is a process, it is a path in which one strives for some form of perfection. I still have a long way to go, or to put it more accurately, this road will never end.

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There will be never the best time

I’m writing that on Friday evening, day before my second 100 km ultramarathon. Decided to write that because… yeah, I have some thoughts. It is because of weather and my general impressions: many things should be different, especially mentioned weather – according to forecasts from two, days before, there should be a bit cloudy, but not difficult day. Unfortunately, there was a rain: two hours with a lot of rain and there is a lot of mud around, so looks like tomorrow I will have a bit more demanding situation.

But not only weather is important. It is also because of my condition and many other factors. I trained before this second ultramarathon, but there was no opportunity to train in the mountains – or I’ve just forgot about that. Second item is about shoes. I bought Mizuno Mujin few months ago, for this and one more event, but unfortunately, had a lot of blisters with them (strange, because did not have such issues with other Mizuno shoes). In result, I bought new shoes… with zero drop… one week before ultramarathon. And then ran with them three times, overall, something over 40 kilometers – no issues with blisters, but that zero drop and different structure… ouch, it was a painful experience. Result? I decided to use my older Mizuno Daichi. Maybe not perfect, but I trust them, and they should be fine.

It is not a good time

Overall, it is not the best moment for that ultramarathon. I prepared everything yesterday and today, but still think, it was possible to prepare everything in the better way… and it is not true! The most important thing: in such situations, there will be never the best moment to do something. It is like a training. You can train a lot, every day, you can check all details, you can ensure all items one hundred times, but you will be never 100% confident, that everything will be fine. The same applies to most of thinks in our lives: you will be never prepared to be a parent, to look for a new job, to start your own business, to make a new course, to try something completely different.

You can give other example from my childhood – I played a lot of games, especially real time strategies like Age of Empires, Total Annihilation or Supreme Commander. I never felt enough prepared, so it was something like: first, build huge base, really HUGE and a lot of defensive structures to be sure, I’m prepared for enemy attacks. Then, build also HUGE army and finally, destroy enemy in something like gigantic rush. It was fine, but had always one big drawback: time, it required a lot of time for… completely unnecessary things. I decided to take a risk when I was let’s say 90%+ confident I will be successful.

Missed opportunities

There is nothing wrong with that, except opportunities: because of that, we can lose a lot of opportunities and time, be pursued by competitors. Of course, there is still valid sentence from Richard Branson: “business opportunities are like buses — there’s always another one coming along“, but we can think more about that: what if we will be just even a bit more aggressive? What if we will make next steps when we will be 80% confident? What if 70% or even 60%? Chances are still on our side, of course risk of failure is larger but… we need to fail to learn, to be better in the future. There is second, great quote, this time from Beniamin Franklin: “The man who does things makes many mistakes, but he never makes the biggest mistake of all—doing nothing.” and it’s true. More aggressive approach may be better for us.

Of course, I do not mean, we should not prepare. According to research, people take more risk if they think about profits and less if about losses – even if we talk about exactly the same chances (it’s only about how we how we will describe a given situation. We should have plan B, plan C and even plan D – try to be proactive, try to think about possible issue, but do not be blocked because of them, do not be paralyzed and do not take all the time to just think about “bad options”, because then, it will be not possible to focus on positive aspects and possible gains. We need to find a good balance, and it’s not “one time task”, it’s a process: we need to adjust our approach based on situation, our motivations and all external factors.

One more word

I’ve completed this post after mentioned ultramarathon. Everything was… fine. My result was three hours better (!) than last year at my first ultramarathon, I felt fine and probably it was possible to achieve even better time. Of course, I was tired, but everything was goood, shoes were fine, I tested some new nutrition aspects and they worked perfectly. Of course, there are some items to improve, but it’s normal. This week I have another ultra: longer, more difficult because a lot of ascents and I’m not sure I will be able to finish that… but want to try and check myself again. Looks like it should be possible, it’s close to my borders and it means, it’s great opportunity to make a progress, even if I will fail. Only three weeks between two ultras, it’s not enough to rest, to prepare but, how to say that… no risk, no fun?