Lab Report: Quitting the News

“If you get your view of the world from the news, you’re always going to think that we’re living in violent times.”

– Steven Pinker

What’s the message of the mainstream media? Be afraid! Stay inside! Out there are Isis, the 1% staling your money and clowns! No wonder we feel anxious and afraid even though we live in the safest era in human history.


The Lab Report – 006 – “Quit the News”

I stopped following the news about 3 years ago. I don’t read any newspapers, I don’t listen to the radio and I don’t follow any blogs or news feeds.

How has this experiment pan out?


Short term effects: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

– “Fear of Missing Out” might haunt you in the beginning – don’t worry, if it’s important (most news aren’t) you will hear about it.

– Fearmonger stories triggers stress and spikes your cortisol. Without these spikes you can enjoy a stronger immune system.


Long term effects: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– Reduced fear and anxiety.

– Less drama, more focus.

– The media is experts at masking us feel concerned. Being concerned makes us feel like we are doing something while we’re not. Now you freed up time to do shit.


Sustainability: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

– You might work at a job where you’re unable to control news exposure i.e a places where TVs and radios on all the time.

– Social media feeds can be challenging to manage. I solved it by not looking at social media feeds.

– Ones your out off it, and if you pay attention to the positive effects, then it’s very hard to relapse.


FINAL VERDICT: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Quitting the news is the closest thing I’ve found to a silver bullet for improved happiness and inner peace. 👌🏻 ☯️

Of course you should not take my word for it. Think for yourself. And also -what is the counter argument to what I just said? 🧐 🤔

You Find More Lab Reports and Experiments Here!

Lab Report: Growing a Beard

I really like to try new things. actually, I originally started this site to be mainly about different small experiments I conduct (Reading a more books where one of there experiments. I guess that one stuck with me 😂). Here we go:


The Lab Report – 001 – “Beards”


Growing a full beard is something every man should try at least ones in their life if they have the genes for it. Why? Because you fucking can!

I’ve had a few smaller beard variations throughout my life but I’m never gone all the way before. With all the way I mean not shaving for 6 – 12 months (In beard circles this is called a “yeard” or a “half yeard” respectively). So I had to try it out and here is my report:


Short term effects: ⭐️

Itchiness is one downside of growing a beard. But it will pass rather quickly. Worse is the “awkward beard”- stage from about week 8 to month 3. This is the period where your beard looks like a patchy mess and you look like you’ve given up on life. This is where most people give up.


Long term effects: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– People think you are wiser and more competent. (Probably because bearded men are portrayed in that way in popular culture).

– It’s harder to eat and drink.

– You can stroke your beard while thinking which unlocks extra cognitive abilities.

– Has some protective quality in blizzards.


Sustainability: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

– It takes a fair share grooming to maintain a respectable-looking beard.

– Makes eating greasy food close impossible. (Good or bad depending on you dietary goals)


FINAL VERDICT: ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️

“Beards are great! Go get one!”

You Find More Lab Reports and Experiments Here!

Lab Report: The First 100 Days of Meditation

We keep reading about it; the most important endeavor one can undertake is self knowledge – “Know thyself” as the inscription reads at the Temple of Apollo – and what better way to start that examination than practice of meditation?

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The Lab Report – 005 – “Meditation:

The First 100 Days”

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The meditation style I do is Zazen. This first phase of the experiment is about establishing the habit of sitting everyday (I prioritize consistency over duration) and building up my capacity concentration.

I count each inhalation and exhalation starting from 1 and going up to 10, then repeat. Its easier said than done!

This meditation is done with open eyes. I started with 8 minute sessions and I’m now at ~20 min sessions and I’m gradually increasing the duration.


Short term effects: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

– It can be quite frustrating to observe when one’s mind wanders off.

– I dose off all the time.

– Observing one’s thoughts and “monkey mind” creates a gap between Me and my thoughts.

– Outside of meditation I feel that it is easier to catch myself when getting lost in thoughts and snap back to presence.


Long term effects: ❓❓❓

– Still unknown. I’m aiming for doing 365 consecutive days in this experiment, so it’s still to early to tell.


Sustainability: ⭐️⭐️ ⭐️

– I find activities like this one, that should be performed everyday, to be tricky. I only missed 1 day out of 100 so far. But the only way for me to achieve that was to make meditation my number one priority during this period. So that’s what I did.


FINAL VERDICT: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

It’s still the early days but I’m happy to have established a solid habit. But it can be a frustrating practice. I guess Being is hard when you are used to Doing. Still, I love taking a few minutes out of my day for self care!


Tell me about your experiences with mediation? 🤔

Find more experiments in the Experiment archives.

Favorite Books of the Year 2018: “Demian” – Hermann Hesse

A short and moody novel that revolves around young Sinclair and the difficult task of finding oneself. Growing up in a protected and pious middle class home he eventually has to face the real world. Sinclair gets a new mysterious classmates, Demian, who guides him to detach and revolt from the superficial world of form and awaken to his true self.

📝 “All I really wanted was to try and live the life that was spontaneously welling up within me. Why was that so very difficult?”

This is most memorable fictional book I’ve read this year. A coming of age story with strong connections to Jungian psychology and symbolism. It came to me at a perfect time; Since I, much like Hesse did when writing the book, just “began to explore the writings of Freud and Jung on dreams and archetypes”. Something that really influenced Hesses writings.

Read the full list of favorites or check out previous lists right here!

Favorite Books of the Year 2018: “Trust Me, I’m Lying” – Ryan Holiday

“Each generation of media has a different cock in its mouth.” – Ryan Holiday, Trust me I’m lying.

😔 I thought I was on top of my media game and was able to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. I WAS WRONG!

📰 😱I knew the situation was bad; I even quit following “the news” 3 years ago because I thought it misrepresented reality to a larger degree than it represented it (and also for the sake of my wellbeing). But Ryan Holidays confessions from his career as a media manipulator paints a even darker picture than I could ever imagine!

👨🏼‍💻Understanding the structure and constraints of click-based media is essential. These structure explains almost everything they do. It’s in the nature of the system.

🥇 The first half of this book is should be mandatory reading (the other half turns into a bit of a rant). This is probably the book that influenced me the most this year!

What was your most influential books this year? 🤔

Read the full list of favorites or check out previous lists right here!

Favorite Books of the Year 2018: “12 Rules for Life” – Jordan Peterson

Life is suffering. How do we deal with that?! We face it, we bare it. Hell is a bottomless pit and in spite of how fucked up and unfair things are, we still can make it even worse. Let’s not do that! What if we instead get our act together and prepare ourselves to face suffering when it comes knocking? That’s the better path. And we all know where we fall short.

Peterson puts the responibility of all the world and all of it’s suffering on the individual. “If we all lived properly, we will collectively flurish.” If we put ourselves in order, maybe we will do the same to the world?

📝 “Aim up, pay attention, fix what you can and don’t be arrogant in your knowledge , strive for humility, be aware of your weaknesses. Consider the murderousness of your own being before condemn and judge others. Maybe you missed the mark? And most importantly, don’t lie! Lying is the path to hell.”

The book is fantastic, but maybe more importantly – it led me to examine the world of Jungian psychology – and what a wonderful rabbit hole it is to dive into!Leading me books like these:

📖 Man and his symbols

📖 King, Warrior, Magician, Lover

📖 Demian (kinda related..)

📖 Women Who Run With with the Wolves

Read the full list of favorites or check out previous lists right here!

Favorite Books of the Year 2018: “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” – Gabor Maté

💉 An excellent introduction to the complex problem of addiction. Dr. Gabors is specialized in its study and treatment. His book offers powerful portraits of his patient lives, the story of his own addictive behaviors and the path to recovery.

📝 “As a rule, whatever we don’t deal with in our lives we pass on to our children.”

⭐️ TAKEAWAY: Regardless of your degree of addiction or whether your drug of choice is heroin, TV, food or shopping – reading the stories and research presented in this book will help to shine a light on your own addictive tendencies.

This year I got rid of two addictions: Nicotine (snus) and caffeine. 🚬☕️

Read the full list of favorites or check out previous lists right here!

Book Year in review with @chriserzfeld

Book Year in review with @chriserzfeld:

“This year, I read a lot of interesting books. One of those was “Behave” by Robert Sapolsky. I got a lot of insight into what makes humans tick, and how we are irrational, emotional and out of control creatures in an entertaining way so that book influenced me a lot.

📖 “Behave” – Robert Sapolsky


I also enjoyed “The Laws of Human Nature” by Robert Greene, which expanded my views on people and was a great book to read right after Sapolsky’s book.

📖 “The Laws of Human Nature” – R. Greene


Then I learned a lot from reading Carl Rogers and his book “On Becoming A Person”. Especially the first half of the book.

📖 “On Becoming A Person” – Carl Rogers


I highly recommend you check them out!

The key insights for this year must be those of neuroscience, behavior, psychology, and biology. We humans are not so rational and stable as we think we are. But if we can come to terms with the factor that our hormones govern our behavior, we can begin to catch ourselves when we are about to carry out an impulsive action and stop ourselves before we do something we will later come to regret.

I am looking forward to reading more about psychology, mythology, and human nature next year. I’m also looking forward to writing and publishing more blog posts. I am excited about work in general so that pretty much sums it up!

Thank you for reading, and thank you for supporting Bookstagram. We’ll talk soon. Take care.

Best regards// @chriserzfeld

Favorite Books of the Year 2018: 21 Lessons for the 21 century

What Harari has done here is quite a feat. He has squeezed what could easily been a series of books into one volume, covering topics like:

—-

▪️The resurrection of nationalism.

▫️What to do in a post-jobs world.

▪️The opportunity cost of fighting terrorism.

▫️Why we need a deep understanding of suffering and how to attain it.

▪️What should we teach our kids in school to prepare the for the future?

▫️How to live in the age of biotech, algorithms and AI.

▪️Is religion still relevant?

▫️Do we need a whole new ideology to deal with the problems of the 21st century when liberalism just wont cut it anymore?

▪️Culturism vs. Rasism.

—-

The book is relevant, nuanced and sometimes frightening.

——

How do I plan do dig deeper into the themes covered in this book in 2019?

——

I will read ‘Future Presence’ early next year. It’s about human connection in a future of virtual reality.

Read the full list of favorites or check out previous lists right here!

My Book Year in Review – Part 1

⚖️ This year had a rough start with severe work-life balance issues but now I feel I have greater momentum than ever going into 2019.

🛠 I promised myself to make 2018 a very practical year and it has been just that! A lot has been done during the year that I’m very proud of:

✅ – Nicotine free (100+ days in!)

✅ – Established a mediations habit (80 consecutive today)

✅ – Preformed 5 speeches.

✅ – Co-founded a small book club

✅ – Kept my gym and running routine for another year.

✅ – Stoic challenges!

✅ – Started the ’Video Content Club’.

✅ – Did my first Podcast appearance.

✅ – Made new friends!

✅ – One post a week on Instagram.

✅ – Had a great year with my family!

📚 There has also been time for books; more than 40 of them! And the coming days I will post about the five books that stood out the most for me in 2018!

❓What practical actions did you take during the year? I know a lot about your intellectual achievements, now I want to hear about the practical stuff! 🤔