Fear of launching

Launching a new project is one thing I am not afraid of doing. Most people are afraid of launching projects. They keep on polishing it until they lose interest and move on to another project. They hide behind perfectionism. Which doesn’t make sense because a product will never be perfect if it isn’t in the hands of the people. It needs to be tested on the wild by people who weren’t involved in the development of that project. That’s when you start to discover bugs, fix them and move closer to perfection.

Tonight I decided to launch a billing system which has been sitting on my laptop for a while now. Here is the URL -> https://www.recurso.co.za. It is a simple billing system that allows you to create professional looking quotations and invoices. Also record payments received. It is targeted at freelancers and small businesses. No IT guy required. You can create and send professional looking quotations and invoices from anywhere in the world. As a Freelancer or an owner of a small business, work doesn’t stop when you leave the office. Your tools should always be at your disposal. They must be available to you at all times. All you need is an Internet connected device. Go ahead and try it. Please provide me with feedback so that I can improve it.

When I decide on a launch date of a system, I launch it on that day. I will rather cut back on features and launch what is already completed. There is always time in future to add yet another feature. There is always time in future to add yet another technology. We got to know when something is done and push it to the hands of the people.

Another reason why people are afraid of launching their projects, is fear of failure. If you don’t launch, you cannot fail they say. Which also doesn’t make sense because by not launching, you are admitting failure before you even give your project a chance. I am not advocating for launching of half-baked system. All I am saying is that we need to know when something is good enough and let it go to the hands of the people. So that they can start using it to solve their problems.

Real artists ship. Those are the words of Steve Jobs. Almost everyone have ideas. Only few people implement those ideas. A tiny fraction of those who implement, launch. A project in your laptop will never solve people’s problems. By not launching, you are robbing this world of a tool that can move human race forward. You are also robbing yourself of an opportunity to learn from failure. Go ahead and launch. Be a real artist.

Time as a currency

Time is a currency. An equally distributed currency. We all have 24 units of it in a day. 1440 if you like to measure time in minutes. It doesn’t matter how priviliged you are, each day, you have the same amount of time as everyone else. It doesn’t matter if you have lots of money to spend in a day and want more time to spend it, you are given exactly the same amount of time. Advantage that you have as a rich person, is that you can pay other people to do things you don’t enjoy doing, and focus on doing things that you enjoy doing. More like trading some of your money for more time. That way you can accomplish multiple things in parallel.

Poor people don’t have such a luxury. They cannot pay someone to do laundry for them, so that they can focus on doing things that they enjoy doing. They cannot afford to pay someone to cook for them, while they watch soapies on TV. They have to do it for themselves. That’s after working for someone to afford basic needs like shelter, food and clean water. Poor in this context means people who cannot pay someone to do household chores for them.

Research [1] conducted by researchers from British Columbia and Harvard Universities, found that people who trade money for time by outsourcing household chores like cleaning and cooking, live happier lives. So money does buy time after all. So the old adage that time cannot be bought is no longer applicable. Just like a a computer processor with multiple cores can do more things in paralle, those who can afford can also do things in parallel. As someone who is poor, you cannot trade money for time because you have little of it. You actually trade some of your time each working day for money. Whatever you are left with, you have to cook and clean your house using it. On top of that, you still need to find time to do the things that you enjoy doing.

Which brings us to the question, how do I maximise the time that I have on my hands? You have to be selfish with your time. You must stop donating your time to people who aren’t paying you money in return. Only donate your time when you have more of it in your hands. Don’t put off doing your own things in order to do things for other people who won’t pay you. You have same amount of hours in a day. Stop honouring every invitation. Stop watching too much TV. You don’t need to watch all soapies playing on all TV channels each day. Only rich people have that luxury. Ironically, it is the same rich people who avoid watching too much TV. The very same people who have more time in their hands because they bought more time from poorer people by outsourcing their chores to them.

That extra time can be exchanged for money that you are lacking. When you have lots of time in your hands and less money, shouldn’t you be trading it for money instead of dishing it out for free? I have a strict policy of not helping anyone during weekdays. I reserve weekdays for myself. I can only donate some of my weekday’s time to someone else in an extreme case. If you are still trading your time for money, you need to start viewing time as an exchange medium. You sell it to people who give you money in return. Fellow poor people like you must simply find a way to maximise their time and stop using you as their personal slave.

[1] Ashley V. Whillans, Elizabeth W. Dunn, Paul Smeets, Rene Bekkers, and Michael I. Norton. Buying time promotes happiness. PNAS, 2017 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1706541114

Sometimes I don’t finish what I have started

They say winners never quit and quitters never win. Most people misinterpret this statement and think it is never OK to stop doing something before you finish it. Sometimes you have to stop doing something before you finish it and focus on doing something else. When you can see that something you are doing isn’t going to be beneficial, it is OK to quit. Life is too short to do things that you aren’t enjoying and not beneficial. Your time in this world is limited. Don’t spend it doing things that you don’t enjoy doing.

If you aren’t enjoying a book you are reading at the moment, it is OK to stop reading it. Sometimes it may not be the right time to read that book. Maybe you are just not in the mood for reading. You don’t need to force yourself to read it to the end because someone told you to never quit. It doesn’t matter if everyone is reading the book, if you aren’t enjoying it after 20-30 pages, it is OK to put it away. Don’t feel guilty.

When a movie you are watching is not enjoyable, it is OK to stop watching. You don’t need to force yourself to watch it till the end. There is no way that you will be able to watch every movie released. Around 700 movies are released each year. That’s only counting Hollywood movies. Not counting Bollywood, Nollywood etc. It is just impossible that you will watch all of them. Even the ones you watch, it is impossible to enjoy all of them. If not enjoying the movie, stop watching.

Which brings me to the question of when should I close my business? You will know when it is time to close it, but if unsure, here are some of the hints that will tell you that it is probably the time to close the shop and try something else. When you no longer have passion for it, it may be time to quit. When you go for days without doing anything to work on growing your business, it may be time to quit. When thinking about your business, depresses you, it may be time to quit. It is OK to quit when you feel you are wasting time on a business idea that isn’t working for you.

I try to avoid using outliers like Bill Gates when making examples of people who had to quit something in order to pursue something better, but sometimes to emphasise a point, you have to use those famous outliers. Microsoft wasn’t Bill Gates’ first business idea. If he stuck with Trafodata, Microsoft wasn’t going to happen. Facebook wasn’t Mark Zuckerberg’s first attempt at building a social site. If he stuck with facemash, facebook was probably never gonna happen. We were probably gonna be stuck with Orkut or Myspace. It is OK to quit something that isn’t working out and focus your time and energy on something better

Time is a limited resource, use it wisely. It is OK to change direction. It is OK to downsize. It is OK to dropout on something, and drop into something better. Something that you will enjoy. Failing through quitting isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. The worst thing is being stuck doing something that is not working out for you.

Getting into a habit of saving money

A journey of one thousand kilometers starts with one step. So does accumulating wealth. Progress begets progress. While I cannot claim to have millions of rand in my name, I have managed to buy my last 3 cars for cash. In fact, everything I currently own was bought for cash since 2008. Phones, household appliances, laptops etc. How did I manage to do it? By saving each month. Saving money is a habit. A good habit. A habit most people are not into. Not because they don’t want to. They just lack the will to do it because results aren’t instant.

Most people blame their low salaries for their lack of saving. Even when their salaries doubles or even triples, they still say the same thing. It doesn’t matter how little you earn, you need to put something away each month. The rule of thumb is at least put away 10% of what you earn. Unlike other habits, this is a difficult habit to get into because majority of people only earn money once every month. it is not something that you can do every day for 21 days. This habit takes months to get used to. Success rates is also lower than other habits.

It is hard to save when you don’t have a goal in mind. So, to make it easy for yourself, set a goal to buy something after some months. Let’s say you want to buy something which costs R12,000 after 12 months. Open a notice deposit account and instruct your bank to deduct R1.000 from your account each month to that account. The amount you set must be small enough that you won’t even feel. It mustn’t be an amount that will cause havoc to your budget. The aim is to get into the habit of saving at first. You can always increase the amount you save each month, at a later stage. After some few months, your budget will absorb that little amount and you will get used to it. When you get used to it. When that happens, you must know that you have now managed to get into the habit of saving.

While I am a big proponent of saving money, I feel the best form of saving is through paying your high interest debts first. It doesn’t make sense getting 5% interest while paying 27% credit card interest. In such kind of scenario, you aren’t saving money, you are losing money. Better to add that amount into getting rid of debts. That’s what I did also. I got rid of my debts first until I have zero debts before I even thought of saving money.

Each rand you pay towards paying off your credit card debt, you earn an interest of 27% instantly. That’s R27.00 interest for every R100 you pay towards your credit card. The converse is also true. You are paying R27.00 interest on every R100 you owe on your 27% credit card. So by paying your credit card debt, you get results instantly. Set aside any amount not on your budget and pay it towards your loans. Pay them off and start your journey to financial prosperity. When you have zero debts, you sleep better. You don’t panick when you receive private numbers because you know the calls if not from those pushy Edgars debt collectors.

To recap, get rid of debts first. By doing that, you get the highest results instantly. Only then you can save. Most people will ask, what if you go through a crisis and need the money. You can still use credit card if it is a real emergency. In fact, insurance was made for that reason. To prevent those emergencies from crippling you when they happen.

This article is the fourth article in the series of getting into a habit. The plan was to write more articles on this series but this is the last one of the series. I have said whatever I needed to say on the topic of getting into the habit.

Getting into a habit of exercising

This article is a third article in the series getting into a habit. If there is one thing that is a little difficult to get used to, is exercising. Success rate is very low despite it being always on top of everyone new year’s resolution list. It is difficult to adapt to regular exercise because of after effects of exercising like tiredness and pain. To get noticeable results, you need to spend hours and hours in the gym or on the road jogging. That’s why most people quit.

This article is going to deal with tricks that you can implement, to make it easier to get into a habit of exercising. First of all, you have to understand that exercise is a terrible way of losing weight. The easiest way to lose weight is through cutting down carbs and sugar. You don’t even need exercise to lose weight. Law of conservation of energy states that energy can neither be created nor lost, it can only be transformed from one state to another. This is how fat loss works. If you eat same amount of calories that you use a day, you simply won’t gain or lose any weight.

If your daily energy expenditure is 2500 calories and you want to lose half a kg per week through jogging, while still eating same calories, you need to jog for around 45 minutes on a treadmill. Everyday of the week. That’s a terrible thing to do. Also not sustainable unless you are a seasoned athlete. The alternative is to eat less, which is also hard because you will always feel hungry. That’s why I always recommend a high fat, low carb diet. That way you lose weight without counting calories. It is just hard to overeat when following a low carb diet.

Without further waste of time, let me outline tips to trick yourself into getting into habit of exercising. Here are the tricks:

1. Stop seeing exercise as a short-cut to losing weight

If you want a shortcut to losing weight, stick to a low carb diet. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Fix your diet first and add exercise on top of a good diet. That way you will see data dropping even quicker. Most people when they want to lose weight, they start jogging without fixing their diets. Few weeks down the line, they realise their efforts isn’t bring much results. They end up giving up.

2. Exercise for health

The main reason for exercise should be for health purposes. Healthy people are happier and more productive. When you feel like giving up, see yourself in a hospital bed, suffering from preventable lifestyle diseases. Is that the picture of yourself that you want to see? The answer is no for everyone. See exercise as a prevention measure for lifestyle diseases and that alone will motivate you to do it regularly.

3. Do less in the beginning

Most people want to get up one day after months or even years of not exercising and burn lots of calories. Then they get disappointed when they can’t even jog for 5 minutes. The best way to start, is to start small and adjust intensity based on fitness level. Start by walking a kilometer of two. Then brisk-walk when your fitness level allows you to do so. Each time you feel your fitness level improved, increase distance or intensity. Soon you will be jogging for 10km or even completing comrades marathon.

4. Do it everyday for at least 21 days

If you do it consistently for 21 days, it will become part of you. You will start feeling terrible if you don’t do it. You can only reach that stage after doing it for a while.

5. Stick to a schedule

If you decide to do it at 6am everyday, stick to that for those 21 days. Let the body get used to doing it at that time of the day. Soon your body will be reminding you that it is time to sweat because it is now used to it.

Try those tricks and let me know. Those are the tricks I used to get back into habit of exercise, after slacking for a while. This is the end of the third episode of getting into the habit of exercising series.

Getting into a habit of eating healthy

Ketogenic food list
Ketogenic food list

This article is second episode of the getting into a habit series. Focus of this article is on helping you to get into a habit of healthy eating. In the beginning of the year,. most people set a goal of losing weight, but only few succeed. Reason why most people fail is because they expect quick results. When they don’t see those results, they get discouraged and quit.

This article is offering  an alternative method to quick-fix diets. Instead of focusing on losing weight, you are going to focus on getting into a habit of eating healthy. Results will come without even focusing on them. Not only you will lose lots of weight, you will also start to feel healthier. Don’t be surprised if some of your illnesses disappear without even visiting health professionals. You energy levels will be at an all-time high by the time you are finished with this challenge. You won’t be controlled by food. You will start to eat to live, not live to eat.

Majority of people aren’t fat and/or unhealthy because they are eating too much, they are fat because they are eating the wrong food. On this challenge, we are going to eliminate those food groups and drinks which contains hidden sugar and makes one fat. It will be in the form of 10 rules that you need to follow for at least 21 days. Here they are:

1. No consumption of alcoholic beverages
2. Cook all your food at home
3. No consumption of sugary drinks
4. Your plate must have 65% fat, 30% proteins and only 5% carbs
5. No fruits allowed
6. No processed food allowed
7. No carbohydrates-rich foods like pap, rice, bread, potatoes and corn.
8. Eat whole foods which are low in carbs
9. Use healthy oils and fats only to cook your food
10. Maximum 2 meals a day. Preferably eaten within 6 hours

Now that you have been told about what not to eat, what must I eat? Good question: Here is a non-exhaustive list of food that you can eat:

You can eat low carbohydrates vegetables like spinach, pumpkin, patty pans, zucchinis, cabbage, lettuce etc.

You can eat unprocessed beef, chicken, lamb and fish. Preferable chicken and fish. Boerewors and minced meat also allowed because they aren’t heavily processed. As long as they have no added sugar.

Cook your meals with healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil etc.

You can eat dairy products like full cream milk, double cream unsweetened yoghurt, unprocessed cheese, feta cheese etc.

You basically eat food coming straight from the farm to your nearest grocer/supermarket. Even better if you go and buy directly from the farm or pick from your backyard.

Aim of this challenge is to fight sugar addiction. Sugar is the number 1 enemy. That’s why governments all over the world are introducing sugar tax. It is the one that makes people fat. Yes, fat you eat isn’t the one that makes you fat. It is sugar that made you fat. It is the one that causes obesity. It is hidden in majority of processed food. After the challenge, you will realise that this sweet drug is the one which was the cause of your health issues.

These rules have been used by a lot of people with great results. Majority of them weren’t even exercising, but they lose weight and start to feel healthier. It is a tried and tested method to regain your health.

Try this challenge for 21 days. I can guarantee you that if you follow these rules without cheating, you will lose weight without even counting calories. You will lose weight without starving yourself. Your health will improve. Don’t even be surprised if your sexually related problems are fixed. Some people who have taken the challenge have reported improvements between the sheets.

We have reach the end of article 3 in the series of getting into a habit. Next article will be about getting into a habit of exercising.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting into a habit

Most people when they want to make changes to their lives, they sit down and write down goals. We all know what happens to majority of goals set, they don’t get achieved because it is so hard to get started. Those who start focus too much on results and give up easily.

This series is going to provide a way you can use to trick yourself into turning a goal into a lifestyle. When you make something a lifestyle, it becomes part of you. You no longer see it as something that you need to take time off your busy schedule because it is now part of your everyday life. Before you turn something into a lifestyle, you need to start get into a habit of doing it.

You turn an action into a habit by doing it repeatedly over a certain number of days. Some researchers claim that you only need 21 days to get into a habit of doing something. Some say it can take up to 30 days. Some say it takes longer that than. We aren’t going to dwell too much into the numbers. Human beings are different and they get used to something at a varying pace. On this series, we are going to use 21 days. You can tweak number of days based on how long you take to get used to doing something. Whenever you see 21 days, just replace it with your personal number of days to get used to doing something on a regular basis.

I have to admit, turning something into a habit isn’t something to be taken lightly. If it was easy, everyone was going to achieve their goals easily. We are going to focus on 10 tricks that you can implement to make the process of getting into a habit easier. Here are the tricks I use when I want to make something a habit:

1. Focus on one habit at a time

Throwing up an orange and catching it is easy, but juggling two oranges at the same time makes it harder and more prone to dropping both of them. Add another orange to the equation and now juggling becomes even harder. It is the same with focus. When you are focusing on turning something into a habit, you need to focus on one habit at a time. That way there will be little room for failure. Reason most people fail to achieve their new year resolutions is because they want to apply big bang approach. They are so impatient in such a way that they end up sabotaging their own progress. To make it easy, focus on one habit at a time, then move on to the next.

2. Make it a challenge and ask your friends to join you

Majority of people find it easier to focus on doing something when they are accountable. Reason you complete projects at work and/or school is because you are expected to complete them, otherwise you will be penalised. If you are planning on taking on a new challenge, you don’t need to be alone. Invite friends who are also in the same boat as you. Hold each other accountable. Update each other on a daily basis. That way you will always have someone to remind you when you are slacking.

3. Do less in the beginning and adjust periodically

Another thing that makes people to give up early on their quest to achieve their goals is making it hard for themselves. Let’s say you are unfit and unhealthy. You don’t climb on the treadmill for 20 minutes at a speed of 10km/h on the first day. Not only you will get tired easily, you risk fainting or even worse dying. The harder your challenge is in the beginning, the more likely you are to quit.

For an example, instead of making a challenge of jogging 5km a day, aim to jog just a kilometre. Jog that kilometre everyday until the end of the challenge without skipping.  Aim is to get into a habit of jogging. It is OK to brisk walk instead of jogging also. Aim is to get into a habit. Don’t expect any results. Don’t even measure the results. There is an article in the series which deals specifically with getting into a habit of exercising.

4. Your body doesn’t like change, but it was designed to adapt to change

The first thing your body does when it is challenged, it is to reject that challenge, complain against it as a sign that it doesn’t want that change. Your body will do everything it can to sabotage you. Unfortunately, that’s how the body was designed. It doesn’t like sudden change. This can be a bad thing or a good thing, depending on your situation. When you are trying to recover from an addiction, your body will make it harder in the beginning.

Your body can’t different between a bad habit and a good habit. It reacts the same way. When it is used to bad thing happening to it, it will act in retaliation against any effort to change that habit. After days of doing something, it will realise that this is here to stay, it will stop fighting and adapt to the new habit. Some people say it is easier to get into a bad habit than a good habit. I don’t know about you, but the first time I tried smoking, my body reacted badly and I never tried again. Same when I started drinking, my body used to reject alcohol. I forced it to adapt and at some stage, I was close to getting addicted to alcohol.  So, because your body doesn’t like change, you need to force it to accept new changes. Force it to adapt.

5. Make it part of your life

When you want to achieve a goal, don’t see steps to achieving that goal as a once-off thing. Treat it like part of your life. When something is part of your life like bathing, eating, brushing your teeth etc, it becomes easier to do. You don’t even feel lazy to do it because it is part of your life. Same with making something a habit, you need to see it as a long-term lifestyle change, not as something you are only doing to achieve a certain goal, because you will forever go back to where you started if you go back to your old habits that brought you where you are in the first place. So, see it as a lifestyle and before you realise it, it will be part of you.

6. Make it second nature

It goes back to the previous point of making something part of your life. When you make something part of your life, at some point in time, that thing will become second nature like sneezing or coughing. You will do it involuntarily like breathing. That’s your goal. To make it second nature. Ever noticed that if you set your alarm to wake you up at 6am every morning, after some days, you will start waking up few minutes or even few seconds before the alarm rings?

That’s because your body is now used to waking up at that time. It is now second nature. During the first few days, your body will be complaining when you try to wake yourself up at 6am. After some days, it will be fine each time an alarm rings. The problem starts when you dread waking up each time your alarm rings. It will never be a habit. When an alarm rings, wake up and complain later. Don’t snooze. Don’t stay in bed a little longer. Just kick your duvets away and wake up. Don’t allow your body to be lazy.

7. Make rules, write them down and stick to them

Make rules of each challenge you take on. Write them down and stick to them. Review them on a daily basis to remind yourself of the commitment you have made to yourself. Treat is as a marriage vow that you have made with yourself and promised to never break them. Vows you cannot break. Vows you cannot cheat because you will be caught before you even cheat. People cheat and break wedding vows because they think they won’t get caught. When a vow was made with yourself, you don’t have that luxury of getting away with cheating. That way it will be easier to follow rules.

8. Don’t focus on results

When most people want to get out of a bad habit, they focus on results. It is OK to write down what you want to achieve and write down concrete numbers like number of kilograms you want to lose or amount of money you want to make, but during the stage of habit forming, your focus shouldn’t be too much on results because you will be demotivated.

From my experience in helping people to lose weight through low carb diets, I realised that people who get more results aren’t those whose eyes are fixated on the end result. it is not those who measure their weight multiple times a day. The people who get the most results don’t even bother to measure their weight. It is mostly other people who notice the results and tell them. Wow! You are losing weight“. What a nice feeling to hear those words from other people without you even noticing the change because your focus is on getting into a habit of healthy eating. There will be an article dedicated to getting into a habit of healthy eating in the series.

9. Don’t break the chain

When Jerry Seinfield was asked how he managed to achieve so much, he revealed a strategy that he uses to make sure that he improves on a daily basis. That strategy is called Don’t break the chain. Yep, it is what it is called. Don’t break the change. Don’t have cheat days. Don’t take breaks. Don’t skip some days and go back to your old bad habits. Do it everyday. Hold yourself accountable by drawing up a calendar with days.

Each time you do whatever you are trying to get into a habit of doing, make a cross on that day. That way you will not tempted to take breaks because there will be a day left without a cross. Don’t even think about taking a day off on a Sunday. Do it everyday. It is OK to do less on certain days. As long as you do something, that’s OK. Don’t break the chain. The longer the chain, the more likely you are into turning an action into a habit.

10. Join online communities interested in your current intentions

These days, there is a community for almost every interest. When you are busy turning something into a habit, you can join a community with like-minded individuals. That way it will be easier because you will be hearing all sorts of good news about the challenge. You don’t want to hang around communities that discourages whatever habit you are getting into, directly or indirectly. Search for pages on facebook about your interest and like them. Follow twitter accounts who focus on your interest. Soon, majority of your day will be dominated with positive information about whatever you are trying to turn into a lifestyle and you will be motivated.

Thanks for reading until the end. Next article on the series is about getting into a habit of healthy eating.

Welcome

Welcome to the official blog of Thomas Madia. I have decided to create an official blog where I can write whenever I feel like writing. I will try to add new articles on a regular basis. Despite spending half of my life programming, unfortunately this blog won’t be about programming and computers. It will be about life in general.

Majority of stuff that I used to write on facebook will be here since I am no longer active on facebook. Beside, it isn’t a good idea to give control my writings to a third-party like facebook. A personal blog is a perfect place to keep all my writings. That way I can decide how it is accessed. That way people won’t need to login in order to have access to the things I write. That way I don’t need to be active on a walled-garden in order for people to have access to what I write.

 

Happy reading!