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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 October 20, 2020

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

    We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

    The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

    Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

    1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

    Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

    For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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    • (1) Research
    • (2) Deciding the topic
    • (3) Creating the outline
    • (4) Drafting the content
    • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
    • (6) Revision
    • (7) etc.

    Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

    2. Change Your Environment

    Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

    One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

    3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

    Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

    Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

    My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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    Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

    If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

    Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

    I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

    5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

    I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

    Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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    As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

    6. Get a Buddy

    Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

    I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

    7. Tell Others About Your Goals

    This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

    For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

    8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

    What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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    9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

    If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

    Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

    10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

    Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

    Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

    11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

    At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

    Reality check:

    I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

    Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

    More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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