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Can the Lifehacking Concept Help You Live Until the Singularity?

Can the Lifehacking Concept Help You Live Until the Singularity?

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    Most geeks know who Ray Kurzweil is. Most musicians do too, and so do many blind people. Kurzweil has invented so many things in so many different fields, it’s hard to know where to begin.

    Perhaps one of the things he’s most famous for, aside from inventing the first reading machine and some awesome keyboards (the kind a musician plays), is his support—or, really, evangelism—for the concept of the Singularity.

    The Singularity, in case you didn’t know, is the theorized point in time characterized by the development of a smarter-than-human intelligence that is capable of improving itself. From this point on, we’re supposed to see a rapid advance in technological progress, because the artificial intelligences are constantly creating intelligences that are smarter than themselves, and hence able to tackle many other problems in technology and science that we haven’t even begun to touch on.

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    One of the concepts that comes hand-in-hand with the Singularity is transhumanism—which is, more or less, the improvement of the human nervous system and body through technology. It’s through transhumanism that we approach Ray Kurzweil’s extreme lifehacking. Though 60 years old, Kurzweil is determined to stay alive until the Singularity occurs and he can upload his consciousness and essentially live forever using (again, theorized) mind transfer technology.

    Well, everyone’s motives for lifehacking varies, and if the Singularity does arrive I bet a lot of us will regret not taking extra measures to stay alive (if we could have regret in death, anyway). But there’s a heck of a lot to learn from guys like Ray who take lifehacking to an extreme level.

    Have a Strong Motivation

    The extreme measures that Kurzweil adopts to live longer—as we’ll discuss in a moment—are all inspired by a strong motivation. At the root of that motivation is a desire to live forever. That’s a pretty strong motivation, and to stick to such extreme measures it needs to be.

    If you’re going to adopt an extreme lifehacking system to achieve a goal— it could be for anything, from losing weight, giving up smoking to learning an instrument—you need to find a way to keep motivated consistently. It’s got to be so good that even the strongest urge to give in doesn’t shake you. For instance, I know many singers who, when they realized that smoking damaged lung cells irreparably and it was impossible to ever gain back their full lung capacity, quit immediately and permanently.

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    Before you set out to conquer a heck of a mountain, what’s going to get you to the top?

    Take No Risks

    Sometimes the best things in life happen because we take risks, but if you’re going to do this right, you’ve got to eliminate all of your potential downfalls. Kurzweil drives slowly and carefully; if you live in his neighborhood, you’ve probably beeped your horn at him a few times! He realizes that driving is a huge risk to longevity and eliminates as much of the risk as he possibly can.

    If you’re trying to quit smoking, a risk would be going to a club or party where there is nothing but smoke in the air, or heading out to eat in that little corner where the smokers go during their lunch break. There’s one of those everywhere.

    Eliminating risks means you don’t have to work as hard to keep motivated, since there’s less resistance to it. It means you’re more likely to succeed.

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    Don’t Go Half-Assed

    Go here and scroll down a bit. That’s a picture of Kurzweil’s daily vitamins, and he even has to hire someone to sort and separate them into bags for him. This isn’t a person who one day decided he’d just eat less chips and go for more walks when he finds the time.

    If you want to lose weight, then forget the fad diets. Cut out all (there are no alternate interpretations to the world all) the crap in your diet, and don’t put a time limit on it either. Don’t decide to do it for a few weeks or “until I lose the weight”—do it from now until the day you die. Exercise as much as you need to each day so you can burn more calories than you take in. There is utterly no point in going half-assed, other than to make it more difficult next time you try.

    I hate reality television, but I’ve seen an episode or two of the Australian version of The Biggest Loser. To me, that’s extreme lifehacking; they’ve done everything they can to bring about the change they desire. They spend almost all day, every day, with their mind focused on solving the problem.

    Kurzweil and his partner Terry Grossman routinely look for new ways to improve their health and extend their lives, such as producing alkaline water to scavenge free radicals in their systems. Part of lifehacking is looking for new ideas and trying them out to see if they work; it’s experimentation. While one should bear in mind the take no risks policy while doing this—going to a party full of smoke is not an experiment that will help you quit—it’s perhaps the most useful, and most enjoyable, part of the process.

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    What is Lifehacking?

    Some people will inevitably tell me that this is not lifehacking. Lifehacking is about making small changes to your day-to-day life to make it more efficient, they’ll say. I’ve heard it a hundred times before. And what they say is true, but I believe that’s only part of it. The underlying concept has great potential to improve your life. By limiting what it can be, you limit yourself.

    You can adopt a little lifehack that’ll help you sort your email faster. That’s all good. But can you implement extreme lifehacking to bring about massive change in your life? Give it a shot, put it on trial, and see how many areas of your life you can improve before the year is up.

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    Joel Falconer

    Editor, content marketer, product manager and writer with 12+ years of experience in the startup, design and tech digital media industries.

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2019

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

    In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

    These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

    1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

    Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

    But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

    Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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    2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

    You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

    The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

    3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

    If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

    Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

    If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

    4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

    Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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    To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

    In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

    5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

    We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

    If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

    Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

    “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

    6. Give for the Joy of Giving

    When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

    One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

    So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

    7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

    Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

    Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

    8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

    When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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    So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

    9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

    Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

    It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

    It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

    10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

    There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

    But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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    Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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    Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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