5 Share – 10 Nov 2017

TFI Friday! I don’t wish the week away, I just get excited for you guys as now you get to read 5 bits of internet awesomeness. You’re welcome.

1. Quote I’ve been pondering this week “Life itself is your teacher, and you are in a state of constant learning” – Bruce Lee

2. In my continuous exploration of music for productivity I’ve found this helpful article with Spotify playlists. So far the classical and video game choices are really good, I’m in the process of converting to Apple Music playlists. Check them out and get in the zone.

3. On the subject of music, the Purvis household has been dancing and singing to this tune from the Lego Batman movie,  especially at breakfast time. It does wonders getting everyone pumped up and feeling good before school and work, try it and get an instant smile early in the morning.

4. My wife found this great Lego set of Women of NASA . Great to see these iconic and influential women represented in Lego form, we’ll be buying this one for Christmas!

5. Book I’m reading: Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content. It’s broken into many chapters, each one for something different such as email, LinkedIn and blogging. A lot of the book is focused on improving writing and so I’m hopeful I’ll learn and improve this blog with the information in this great book.

Morning rituals that don’t stop with parenthood

Making time to setup your day for success

I’ve been experimenting for years. So much so my wife often jokes about the things I try after listening to podcasts like The Tim Ferriss Show or The Moment with Brian Koppelman.

This has definitely changed over the last few years since becoming a parent. Following rituals and rhythms has become increasingly difficult, I don’t always have the ability to do what I used to do in the mornings, especially on my commute days. I’ve realised I’m not alone in this. The other day it dawned on me there must be thousands, if not millions of others who feel the same.

There’s a lot of advice out there from successful people and the routines that set them up. However, I’ve yet to find many that are practical for a parent of young children. This is especially pertinent for particular parenting styles (my wife and I are what many would call attachment parents). So I’m writing this post for anyone who has young kids, an early commute or both. I hope this inspires rhythms and rituals in your life, ones that help the mind, body and spirit of yourself and those around you.

Getting up
I wake up early, around 5:45am, this allows me to have space before the rest of the house awakens. For 10 minutes after waking, I stay in bed practicing the Alexander techniques semi supine. This lengthens my spine, clears my lungs, relaxes my shoulders and neck muscles and sets me up for the day.

I get out of bed, go downstairs and pour myself a large glass of filtered water. I favour bamboo charcoal filters mixed with a freshly squeezed lemon. This gives me a fresh feeling, energy and many more benefits (described here)

Before leaving the house I make a smoothie blend of walnut pieces, frozen banana, almond milk, medjool dates and hemp protein powder. This is for breakfast later, I got the recipe from an interview I found with Seth Godin and I’ve made it my staple for a while now.

On the commute
If I’m going to the office I commute by train, this is when I use the Headspace app on my phone and do 10 minutes meditation. I find the headspace app really lets me meditate with noise and people in the same space. One day I’ll be seasoned enough not to need the app.

Next, I listen to a whole or part of a podcast – this is usually The Tim Ferriss show, The Moment or Design Matters (see My fav podcasts)

After this I write my journal, either my 5 minute journal or morning pages, I rarely do both on the same day and so choose intermittently.  Journaling has had the largest positive change in my life outside of meditation.

Starting work
At work I grab a coffee and use a stand up desk. My phone is under my laptop stand (out of view and on silent) and I use the pomodoro technique to get the most focus I can.

So that’s how I structure my morning to get the best out of my day, be positive around others and grow my thinking.

For those wondering why showering isn’t in my morning routine, I no longer shower every day (a current experiment). On days when I’m not working at home I shower in the evening. Evening showers are warm (not hot), morning showers are cold. The benefits of cold showers are amazing and really do work for me.

For exercise, since becoming a parent I weave into my day in many ways, from walking, cycling, running with our dog or climbing trees and playing with my 4 year old son in the park.

There are days when I don’t get to do all of the above and that’s OK, I keep moving forward and do the best I can. The important thing is that no matter where I am I can choose to follow the rhythms and rituals I’ve put in place. They make me feel good, keep me positive and help me grow as a person.

If you’re interested in starting the day in the best way you can, it’s definitely possible to build rituals and rhythms with a family and long commutes. It takes some experimenting and the realisation that if you don’t achieve some or all of them everyday, that’s OK. Try some, there is no downside.

The book I cite the most for helping keep rituals once you’ve found good ones is The Slight Edge

5 Share – 3 Nov 2017

Hold up! It’s Friday? That means it’s 5 share day, where you wonderful people get 5 things that may change your thoughts or possibly even you life forever*. Sit tight and read on:

*Not guaranteed

1. Quote I’ve been pondering this week “What you think you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create” – Buddha

2. What I’ve been listening too for creativity and productivity boosts : Band of Brothers soundtrack. I first listened to this album for experimenting with creative mind boosts 10 years ago while on a creative writing course. It’s been my go to album to get those creative juices flowing ever since, try it and enjoy those ‘aha’ moments

3. I re-read my most gifted book ever this week- Together is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration – Simon Sinek. I’ve given this to more people than I’ve given the 7 habits of highly effective people and Victor E. Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning (both life changing books). Check it out, it’s super inspirational and a really great reminder of why we are here, it even has pictures.

4. Favourite blog post this weekSeth Godins The thing about maps – An insightful 20 second read that reminds us to have and remember our true North..

5. I enjoyed reading this article  the other day (https://i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/d3ppvy/when-jme-met-jeremy-corbyn)  about JME and Jeremy Corbyn.  The end paragraph resonated with me most (pasted below). It’s worth reading the whole thing, a 15 minute read.
“Perhaps the longest period in which pop culture has been dominated by the fantasy of stardom as salvation — the nu–glam 21st century — has finally started to crumble. Maybe it’s time to dream collectively again, imagine a kind of victory that condemns no one to be a loser. Who better to embody that shift than a leader who never wanted to lead, a man who has turned anti–charisma into an improbable form of glamour?”

The Power of Negative Thinking

Experimenting is the foundation of growth. The greatest minds I’ve ever worked with are the ones who embraced experimentation, fully utilising their ability for negative thinking; something the astronaut Chris Hadfield coined as ‘The power of negative thinking’, where preparation for every scenario means he’s rarely caught off guard. An essential life saving skill for an astronaut and a huge advantage for anyone with goals they want to achieve.

Negative thinking in this regard isn’t about being a victim, it’s not about being consumed by negative thoughts, it’s about turning up prepared.

I realised this advantage at a young age. My parents divorced by the time I was 4 years old and before I was 5 my older brother was no longer living with us. He’d moved to Seattle in the USA to live with our aunt. This was completely unexpected and at 5 I’d lost a brother. How could I have not seen this coming? Could I have prevented it? I felt terribly sad and remember wondering what else could happen to me, it was the first time I realised I wasn’t in control.

At 10 years old, my father wrote a letter to my mother saying he’d also moved to Seattle. Something we didn’t see coming. It was then I knew I needed to gain more control in my life. I was only ten but knew I didn’t want life changing events to appear from nowhere. I needed to prepare and open my mind to the negative.

“We need to choose the life we lead not take the one chosen for us by society, friends or family”

After this, I prepared for everything. For example, at 12 years old I studied everything I could about car safety at my local library (in case things went wrong and I could help my mother at the roadside). To this day, I never drive anywhere without a torch or waterproof clothing in the car (there is always the possibility of a breakdown in the rain here in the UK).

A more recent example is my first son, he exists because of IVF. My wife and I studied hard before going on the IVF journey, looking at successful outcomes and unsuccessful ones. What were the commonalities? Should we rely purely on science? What about Chinese medicine and homeopathy?

We carefully planned for a successful outcome by mapping the negative ones too, opening our minds to all the possibilities. Diet, acupuncture, exercise, meditation, and particular supplements were all a huge part of our journey, and in place due to our open minds and realisation that science is a helper, and not the only answer.

We visualised failure and visualised success, exploring the journey for both. On our second attempt we were successful and have the most wonderful son we could ever imagine. Opening our minds to the many negative and positive scenarios, we had figured out what to do based on our own health and make up. The power of negative thinking, married with science, played a huge part in our becoming parents.

In my current role leading quality teams at Unity3D, I find myself mapping every possibility for the challenges we face. I’m scenario planning and constantly embracing negative thinking to prepare for all outcomes.

If you’re involved in software creation, the power of negative thinking and embracing negative outcomes will go a long way to you achieving greater craftsmanship resulting in faster, higher quality releases.

It sounds obvious, yet many people are not doing this and when it comes to software development, if you aren’t then you’re on a difficult journey, especially with services lighting up all around us.

Not everyone believes in this mindset, not surprising given we’re mostly conditioned to only visualise success. My hope is that by reading this you’ll start visualising failure as well as success. I’m not saying plan for failure (that rarely achieves the right outcomes), I’m saying embrace visualising failure as part of your toolbox.

If you don’t already, then why not embrace the power of negative thinking in your life? Positive thinking is an essential part of being human and has been well documented for decades. Just don’t forget that picturing all outcomes to steer towards success is the balance. You’re more likely to achieve what you want in life if you turn up prepared.

This is an updated and improved version of my first Linkedin article.

Written listening to Atom Heart Mother – Pink Floyd