Jimmy here! The 40 day meditation challenge was a success! My next 40 day challenge will a “Speak No Evil” challenge. For the next 40 days starting September 19th, 2017 to Oct 27, 2017, I am not allowed to curse, attack, badmouth, trash talk, slander, or insult anyone. If I must criticize for whatever reason, it must be framed in a positive light.
The exception is if I am warning someone else that they are in danger or they are about to be scammed.
Anybody that hears me break my rule, I owe them a dollar.
I feel like I am growing a little bit too critical of others. I am back at school (city college) and surrounded by 18-19 year old college kids. When you are 25 years old, have worked in Silicon Valley, and have been into the self-improvement game for years, such an environment can make you feel alone even if you are surrounded by upbeat college kids.
My goal is to be a leader in the self-improvement world and to accomplish this, I must be in full control of my ego and temperament. Furthermore, I need to be able to guide others into becoming the best version of themselves. Such task requires empathy and the ability to inspire rather than condemnation and judgment.
So let’s rectify my potty mouth, shall we?
Day One: September 19th, 2017
Day One went smoothly. I almost slipped twice. The first was this morning when I was driving to work and the person in front of me was obnoxiously slow. The second was during a phone conversation with my friend when I almost described someone I know as a “fake” before catching myself.
My friend decided to goad me on Facebook, trying to get me to slip. He asked “What do you think about Donald Trump.” I replied, “A rather hearty and rotund fellow whose rise to power presents our nation a much needed opportunity for self-reflection. I also share in his perspective that his daughter is quite the looker.”
What? No shade thrown…
Day Seven: September 20th, 2017
I slipped twice over the weekend. Both times talking to a close friend. I owe him two dollars. The hardest is when I am driving. It is always easier to insult someone whose face you do not see.
In psychology, you learn about the attribution bias: when you make a mistake you are more likely attribute the mistake to an external factor and make excuses while when you witness another person make a mistake, you attribute that mistake to an internal factor and make judgments.
I suppose, not being able to catch the identity of someone when they make a mistake makes it that much easier to judge them. It is easier to insult a server who you never have to meet again compared to your coworker who you will see every day. It is easier to insult a driver who you will never have to see compared to the server who actually spoke to you.
This raises a very important issue: the more distant you are to someone, the more distant you feel to someone, the easier it is for you to dehumanize them.
Day Fourteen: September 27, 2017
I honestly have not been in too many interpersonal conflicts. I suppose being in this challenge itself has left me more avoidant than usual. Unlike many of my contemporaries, I do not derive excitement from drama. When you have a life as crazy as mine, peace and stability are my dramas.
That being said, I do still have to catch myself. There are people out there that I feel are fake or ignorant or not very nice. There are people that have hurt me in the past or people that really annoy me in the present. In dealing with these people, I must come from a place of a higher perspective.
I must come from a place of empathy and understanding that everyone goes through an individual journey and their negative quirks are for them to work out. I have to keep in mind that I too have hurt people and been annoying in the past. I too could have used empathy back when I was unaware.
Day Sixteen: September 29th, 2017
Wow. This challenge took a turn. An incident happened two days ago at Acro Yoga where someone really caused me to lose my patience. I did not insult him or say anything negative about him but I did give him attitude and responded to him in a sarcastic tone. My patience was already worn thing that day for other reasons.
Honestly, I feel the culture of Acro Yoga, at least in Santa Barbara, carries values and vibes that breeds conflict and resentment between members. And because Acro Yoga SB is an environment where people are pressured to uphold a forced image of positivity and community, I feel a lot of tension rising from the fact that people constantly avoid having the hard conversations. Animosity comes with crushed expectations.
For example, officers in the community make big outlandish speeches about “supporting one another”, “pushing each other to the edge” and then when someone actually really needs help, no one is there to be found. By contrast, in other yoga classes I take and in my martial arts gym, nobody makes big speeches about supporting one another, they just do it. I went from really admiring these officers to thinking the complete opposite.
This is been one of my struggles. Finishing this challenge will take a lot of discipline if trends continue. I believe the best course of action will be to create distance with certain people and if I cannot, make it clear that I do not want to interact.
Day 21: October 4th, 2017
This challenge started off strong but it is taking a downturn. I flipped someone yesterday while driving and I am starting to feel a little bit of ego coming back from all the stress I have been dealing with.
On the bright side, I was inspired to make an awesome blog post on the topic of how to communicate with friends and loved ones that you are angry at. Definitely, worth checking out!
Day 28: October 11th, 2017
This weekend was definitely a challenge for this challenge but I got through it. I attended the 2017 Acro Yoga Festival in Portland, Oregon. Wait…am I seriously such a debbie downer that I have trouble keeping my mouth free from negativity at a yoga retreat?
Not exactly! See, when you are traveling and meeting massive amounts of people from other towns, you tend to let loose a little. You don’t have the certain filters you have when you are hanging out with people you see on a regular basis. So when one new friend from another city starts talking about that one jerk from her Acro community, it was very tempting to go there too.
Then, when another new friend from another city starts talking about how the Acro-Yoga culture of constant positivity prevented her from raising her voice about male coaches that creeped on her, I almost launched into rant because as you read above, I too have my concerns about Acro-Yoga culture.
This is where I really had to practice forgiveness and putting my own ego in check. You have to forgive the people that do not know better. You really have to see everyone, including yourself, as flawed individuals going through a unique journey where unique mistakes will be made and people will be hurt along the way.
Practicing forgiveness is one of the best things you can do to love yourself. Get out of the way of the people who cause you pain, but don’t stoop down to their level by being negative towards them.
Day 36: October 17, 2017
Honestly, I am not doing too good with this challenge but it is still absolutely worth it. It was hard to keep it in sometimes when a co-worker absolutely frustrates you or you see things on the news that really anger you. Two weeks ago was the Las Vegas shootings that left 50 dead and this week we had the whole Harvey Weinstein ordeal. Events such as these really put you in a bad place and when you are in this place, you do not do well with other people’s BS.
I owe people money. Simple as that. However, simply having this challenge in place has created standards that I must follow. It provides a floor which I know I am not supposed to go below. Doing this forces me to think positively and be empathetic even when I REALLY REALLY REALLY don’t want to. Sometimes you just to need to have a rule you cannot break in order for you to commit to something positive.