Lab Report: Wake up at 5 AM

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” – Ben Franklin

The morning hours are very focused. The brain is recharged and there are no distractions. No phone calls, no children running around, no meeting or unforeseen events to attend. Imagine having done 10k running, 30 min mediation and completed the most important task of the day before the rest of the world has taken their first zip of the morning coffee. That’s what we are trying out in this experiment!


The Lab Report – 007 – “Rise Early”

@BenLaing2 (Instagram) asked me if I would like to join him and a group of peps for a challenge; A challenge to rise at 05:30 am for 66 days straight.


Short term effects: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

– It will take a while to get used to going up on time if you are a converting night owl.

– Motivation be unreliable until established a proper morning routine or if you don’t have a strong “Why” for rising early.

– You will immediately feel the momentum building up as task are getting checked off.


Long term effects: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– 2 extra focused hours each day for 5 years; that’s 3650 hours of effort you can put towards whatever you find most worthwhile in life.

– You will grow to love the tranquility of the dark hours.

– I have a family of deer I see during my morning run. It had become a nice ritual to say hi to them.


Sustainability: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

– Weekends pose an extra challenge since there is an cultural expectation that we should stay up later then.

– This lifestyle is not compatible with late nights, which could be considered a loss.

– You have to go to bed early for this routine to be sustainable.


FINAL VERDICT: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I never made the full 66-days, but did two good runs of 30(ish) days in a row. Going up early has given me much joy and fulfillment. I love it!


What morning routine do you have, and what is the morning routine that you wished you had? 🤔

You Find More Lab Reports and Experiments Here!

“Sapiens”, “Homo Deus” and “Now 21 Lessons for the 21 Century”. REVIEW.

While his other books, Sapiens and Homo Deus, focused on the past and the far future – this book focuses on the present and mankind’s immediate challenges.

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Topics are ranging from how to deal with disruptive technologies, the resurrection of nationalism and the relevancy of religions. Harari wants to shine a light on the fact that we are lacking new idea systems that are capable to help us navigate these new and trying times. Liberalism and the other old ideologies just won’t make the cut anymore.

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📝 The opportunity cost of fighting terrorism is that the money could have be used to fight other threats; like global warming.

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📝 Disruptive technologies will likely create a new “worthless class” of billions. Marxism might make a come back when jobs are being threatened, one might think? But Marxism presumes that the workers labour is of value. That probably won’t be the case with advancements in automation.

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📝 Protect humans not jobs. Finding meaningful pursuit for humans is the most important problem to solve in a future without jobs.

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📝 You don’t need religious text to be moral. Apes learned to take care of the poor and weak well before the Bible told them so.

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📝 “If you want reliable information, pay good money for it.” 👌🏻

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A whole bookshelf worth of topics is crammed into one small volume, which becomes a problems when each chapter deserves its own book.

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Harari don’t have a solution for all the issues. He offers the same advise that wise people and sages always have: sit down on a cushion and observe your sensations. Know thyself, and get to know suffering deeply enough so that you can act in a way that reduces it both your life and in the life of others.

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4/5

 

Review (4/5) – Get the Book!

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Thoughts on: “The Wisdom of Insecurity” by Alan Watts

I’m focusing on notes this time around!

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Watts does a really great job at explaining ideas that seem to be at the core of most religious and spiritual teachings.

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📝 The Law of Reversed Effort. ”When you try to stay on the surface of water, you sink; but when you try to sink you float. When you hold your breath, you lose it— which immediately calls to mind an ancient and much neglected saying, “Whosoever would save his soul shall lose it.”

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📝 There is a contradiction between the desire of being secure and fact of change. We want to be separate from the life of flux and change to feel secure and that, paradoxically, create the sense of loneliness and fear. “The desire for security and the fear of insecurity are the same thing”.

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📝 “You want to escape the pain, but the more you struggle to escape, the more you inflame the agony”.

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📝 “Look!”

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📝 Money is as a token for wealth. “In somewhat the same way, thoughts, ideas and words are “coins” for real things”. They represent them but are not those things. Words are fixed while what they represent change.

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📝 “When each moment becomes an expectation life is deprived of fulfillment, and death is dreaded for it seems that here expectations must come to an end”.

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📝 “So long as there is the motive to become something, so long as the mind believes in the possibility of escape from what is at this moment, there can be no freedom”.

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🤯 Is the brain really good for us? Or is it taking on a destructive evolutionary specialization by our focus on trying to predict the future?

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⚖️ This book is a given in the library of the spiritually minded reader, alongside modern classics like the works of Eckhart Tolles, and timeless classic like Bhagavad Gita and Tao Te Ching.

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5/5

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Thoughts on: “Tao te Ching” by Lao Tsu

I can see a possible scenario in the future, where I’m a greying old man, and I praise this book as profound and monumental. But let’s face it, It did not do much for me right now.

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I enjoyed it quite a bit and something tells me this book is special, but I don’t feel I have access to all its layers yet. It feel pointless to put a number on a book like this and therefore I won’t.

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The book is lightweight with it’s 81 aphorisms of Chinese wisdom – most of which doesn’t even cover half a page in the book. But it demands reflection. ——

📝 The oldest version excavated was dated back to 400 years BC.

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📝 “The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.”

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📝”A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.”

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📝 ”To understand the limitation of things, desire them.”

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⭐️ Takeaway:

Non-Attachment, non-Judgment and non-Resistance. We have heard it all before. These principles are easy to understand intellectually but so hard to master.

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My current plan is to get more editions (with different annotations) of Tao te Ching and keep going back to it every other year or so.

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What’s your relationship to this book?

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?/5

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Thoughts on: “Demian” by Hermann Hesse

The story revolves around young Sinclair and the difficult task of finding ones self. 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.

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📝 Abraxas: A deity combining the godlike and the devilish.

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

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📝 “When we hate a person, what we hate in his image is something inside ourselves. Whatever isn’t inside us can’t excite us.”

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⭐️ Takeaway:

About the previous quote: If that’s the case – and by observing this phenomenon for a while I believe there is some truth to it – then even when someone irritates us, we can use that as an opportunity to learn more I out ourselves. I kinda like that quote for that reason.

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📊 My Amateur Jungian Analysis: Sinclair is the “Ego”, Kromer his “Shadow” and Demian the “Self”. Lady Eve is the “Anima” (the unconscious feminine side of a man). One of Jungs anima levels is even named “Eve”. By opening up to Lady Eve, Sinclair becomes complete. He and Damien become one.

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⚖️ Verdict:

This a mysterious and short (100 pages!) coming of age story for philosophically minded reader. Pauses for contemplation are needed between each chapters. The best 3$ spent this year!

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For those who read already: What do you think Demian did to get Kromer of Sinclair’s back?

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What short book blew your mind recently?

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4/5

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Thoughts on: “Wanderlust” by Rebecca Solnit

If there is a way to read a book in the “wrong way”, I might actually have done it with this one! I listened to a book about walking while running.

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“A history of walking” is a bit misleading because it feels very superficial as a history book. It more a collection of musings and digressions around the subject of walking in the context of culture and history.

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Walkings influence on philosophizing/writing/thinking, women’s rights to roam freely, the “walking gardens” of leisure class, political marches and the auto-mobilization of public spaces are some of the topics covered. Sound kind of dry and boring but for some reason (and I can’t really put my finger on why), it kept my interest all the way through. ———————

📝 About the car mentality of modern day America: “People seem to have a mental radius on how far they are willing to walk, and it’s shrinking.”

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📝 Flâneur: A stroller. A connoisseur of the the streets.

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📝 Rousseau believed that the original man wandered the forests in solitude, living a simplistic life. This was what we ought to emulate. Most of his philosophy was born during his long walks.

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📝 Walking has been much more accessible to men than women. And this is still the case today. Restrictions and risk of physical abuse has limited women’s access roaming freely. 2/3 of American women are afraid to walk their neighborhood at night.

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📝 Back in the day the treadmill was used to punish prisoners sentenced to hard labor.

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⭐️ Takeaway: I should pay attention to my health. I would love to be able to still wander around during my autumn years without interference from bad knees, back problems or obesity.

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This is definitely not for everyone but if you, like I do, enjoy walking just for the sake of walking it might be worth your time.

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3/5

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Thoughts on: “The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei” by John Stevens

My major feat this summer was to inflate a pool in preparation of a BBQ party (see pic. 2). Due to lack of proper equipment it had to be done manually. It took quite some time and effort on my part to get it ready; But I persisted and felt a little bit of pride afterwards.

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When the guests arrived their reaction was; “That’s crazy! I can’t believe you didn’t use a pump for that!”.

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Now cut to the Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei:

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Instead of being dressed in traditional black Buddhist clothes, they wear white, the color of death. They carry a knife in their belt. This is to take their life if they fail in any element of their practice. Knife for self-disembowelment – belt for hanging.

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These buddhist monks and super athletes reaching for enlightenment in the here and now thought physical movement.

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Their training schedule is crazy. The “1000-Day Marathon”, a big part of their practice, takes 7 years to complete. For the first 5 years they run a marathon a day for 100 days straight. This is repeated 7 times. For the last 2 years the distance is increased to two Marathon distances a day (84km!). They also throw in a 9-day fast into their practice, with continuous meditation, without water and sleep, to keep things interesting.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY: When we get familiar with feats like these, either through books or elsewhere, our ability to complain about trifles is diminished.

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Our standards and expectations of ourselves and others are so low nowadays… SO LOW.. (at least in Sweden where I live), that learning about stuff like this can, at least temporarily, raise the expectation bar a bit. So that you don’t get too cocky for blowing some air into a pool. Or praise the one that did it. 😀😎

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And yes! It’s a great book! The writing is so-so but the content is truly fascinating!

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5/5

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Thoughts on: “Advice not Given” by Mark Epstein

“When we let the ego have free reign we suffer – but when we learn to let go, we are free.”

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Dr. Epstein explores where psychotherapy and Buddhism can complement each other in the persuit of mental wellness.

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The Buddha and Freud, Dr Epstein says, came to a similar conclusion. Ego is the enemy, the limiting factor in our wellbeing.

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Sure! We can control our egos to a large extent if we put in the effort, but I’m not as convinced as Dr. Epstein, that Sigmund’s Id, ego and super ego – and the “self” of buddhism are too similar – other than that the burden of societal norms increase our suffering – and that breaking free of those bonds is the key to inner

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📝 The Eightfold Path: Right view, right motivation, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

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📝 “Death is Apart of Life. Don’t make a big deal out of it!”

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📝 Right speech goes for both the external and the internal. Catch loops of bad self-talk!

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📝 We all need to find a way to deal with the truth of impermanence. ”Change is the Only Constant.”

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📝 Freud was a badass, Buddha was a badass!

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Epstein gives you psychotherapeutic case studies and personal stories interwoven with Zen parables – All tied together neatly with each chapter representing one of the 8 fold paths of Buddhism.

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I solid read for winding down and getting over yourself!

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3/5


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Thoughts on: ”Eat & Run” by Scott Jurek

Scott Jurek runs and eats! By running I

mean 100 mile runs (that’s 160km!) and 24 hour races. By eating I mean only plant based foods.

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Endurance has been a theme in my reading for a while and this is the latest latest entry. I was led to this ultra marathon legends autobiography because Jurek was mentioned in “Born to Run”. But unlike “Born to Run” which I would recommend to anyone, this is better suited for running enthusiasts only.

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The most interesting aspects of the book is his search for the link between endurance sports and altered states of consciousness. I also enjoyed the more practical sections with training and dietary advice.

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📝 A common mistake for beginners is to have too long strides. Count the times you right foot skrikes the ground In 20 seconds. Multiple by 3 and you get your stride rate per minute. Speed up til you reach 85-95 strides per minutes.

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📝 Later in his career he started a more holistic view on his training:

– Yoga for body awareness, flexibility & centered focus.

– Body posture & stabilization.

– Conscious breathing.

– Upper body strength.

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📝 “The more I measure the more sure I was on my instincts” Jureks book has a more open attitude towards technology than the “back to basics” attitude of “Born to Run”.

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📝Jurek Book Recommendations:

“Running Wild” – John anorino “Running and Being”

“The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei”

“The Power of Now”

“Bone Games”

“The Way of the Peaceful Warrior”

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Every runner knows it is a hassle to time meals and workouts. Free up more time for actual training (instead of digesting) by replacing heavy meaty meals with plant based ones!

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4/5

 

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Thoughts on: “Walk Like a Buddha” by Lodro Rinzler

“All of you are perfect as you are, and you can use a little improvement”

Zen Master Suzuki Roshi


This is a very practical and accessible book about how to apply the teachings of the buddha to different aspects modern life. It has a question/answer format like: What would the buddha do in this and that situation or what would his stance be on one thing or another.


The book is good, but I feel that most of the value I got from it comes from cited sources rather than from the authors own experiences and insights.


📝 An elderly man teaches his grandson about peace. He said that he has two wolves that lives within his heart. One is fueled by anger and aggression and the other by kindness. They are always at war with each other for his heart.. The grandson asked: “who will ultimately win?”. The man answers:

“The one that wins will be the one I choose to feed”.


📝 Everyone think they are busy all the time. It’s easy to be busy! Get a dedicated time for meditation.


📝 Impermanence is a bitch. Going through Hell is not punishment, it’s training. We have to learn to deal with. A big part of life is pain and if you don’t learn to relate to it you are missing out on big aspects of life.


📝 At work: if you feel boredom. Drop it like a meditator drops an intrusive thought. The present moment is a perfect point from which to start anew.


📝 “Always don’t know”. Keep an inquisitive mind.


📝 There are so many things that can make an office environment toxic, but Mindless speech seems to be is chief among them.

The Four Gates of Speech:

1. Is what I’m about to say true?

2. Is what I’m saying necessary?

3. Is what I’m saying kind?

4. Is it a good time?


📝 From “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying” by author Bronnie Ware:

“I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself and not the life others expected from me.”


💡 Takeaway. “Live your life as an experiment”. Nothing new here! BUT I’m a big proponent doing experiments. Going forward I will post about concluded and ongoing experiments I’m conducting. Stay tuned!What are you experimenting with in your life?

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